Lawyers Giving Back looks at a side of lawyers you don’t hear too much about—the side that gives back…pays it forward..and shares the love. We’ve found quite a number of attorneys who log non-billable hours helping others—simply because they believe it’s the right thing to do. Their stories are inspiring, and hey, who knew lawyers were so…good? If you’ve got a story to share about an attorney who’s doing the right thing, let us know—we’d love to let others know, too. Today, we’re talking with Michigan attorney Bertram Marks…
If the career combination of Baptist minister and attorney sounds like an oxymoron, don’t bother to mention it to Bertram Marks. “Oh yes, I have heard that one before,” says Marks with a gentle laugh.
Marks is the lead partner in a full-service law practice in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where he combines his ecclesiastical and legal training to the maximum. “It is not really as dichotomous as one might think,” he says. “If you have an interest in community justice and integrity, the two just go hand in hand.”
Marks, who is also Pastor at the First Community Baptist Church, says he “can’t think of a time there weren’t at least 3 or 4 pro bono cases” on his docket. “A lot my work is in the area of economic justice, civil rights labor,” says Marks, “So I bundle all that up to deliver real help to people.”
And people in Michigan have some very real problems these days. Many people have been rocked back on their heels by industry shutdowns, lost jobs and sinking house prices.
“There is a huge wave of pain out there,” says Marks.
Just keeping the heat on during a long Detroit winter is a challenge for thousands of people. Financial assistance is available but many people either don’t know to access it or are simply too proud to admit they need it. Aware that it would be in the uncomfortable position of cutting of service to thousands of families, DTE Energy executives came to Marks in 2007 and asked for his help.“
“We found people were so turned off by the utility company when they got a shut-off notice they just kind of shut off, too,” says Marks. “There’s a feeling of hopelessness and going into a utility service office was the last thing they wanted to do.”
“I was able to convince the utility if we could base these support centers in faith-based Read the rest of this entry »