Pro Bono Spotlight - Fawaz Bham
Our pro bono spotlight focuses on Fawaz A. Bham, an associate at Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP, and graduate of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
When asked why he gives his time so generously to pro bono clients, he stated, “Perspective.”
“Hearing a pro bono client’s issues places an attorney’s daily struggles in perspective, and assisting a pro bono client with their issues is often akin to restoring their faith in our legal system. Every time you are given the opportunity to serve, try to avail it!”
He notes that it is often easier to think of an attorney’s career in a linear fashion (i.e., the more time billed to matters involving one’s specialty, the better attorney that results). In contrast, Fawaz believes it is time for attorneys to commit to other causes while upholding their practice’s high standards. He feels that it “increases your intellectual stamina, deepens your resolve to excel in this demanding profession, and accelerates the use of your legal knowledge to real-world matters.”
During the day, Fawaz is a capital finance and real estate associate at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. He focuses on acquiring, developing, leasing, and disposing of real estate assets and financing real estate projects nationwide. Fawaz also serves on his firm’s pro bono committee and actively contributes to a number of pro bono initiatives every year. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he has led the development of the virtual intake clinic platform for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (“DVAP”), which has connected over 1,300+ applicants to DVAP’s resources.
His advice to those who want to start volunteering is “Start with a step and leap forward.”
“Over the years, I have worked on different pro bono matters ranging from forming LLCs, drafting estate documents, volunteering at legal clinics, advising entrepreneurs on small business issues, assisting immigrants to prepare personal statements for their immigration applications, presenting real estate 101 seminars, and being part of a team litigating to resolve a client’s issues. I am always amazed at how many resources from different organizations are available to assist attorneys who are volunteering in a practice area different from their current practice and how colleagues, judicial staff, judges, and others step up to assist you when you are assisting others. I learned early on that the hardest aspect of pro bono work is stepping up. The resources, answers, guidance, and practical tips all come because you essentially join a pro bono community that has the same goal in mind – placing your client in a better place than he or she was in before you volunteered to help. I have also learned different law areas that I would never have ventured into but for the pro bono work. My advice to young lawyers starting in the field is to start pro bono work sooner than when they feel “ready” and just take the leap.”
Fawaz highly encourages other attorneys to take pro bono cases. “It only takes a limited interaction with a pro bono client to remember how fundamental and essential the pro bono help one offers for pro bono clients and to realize how your small drop in the pro bono service bucket ripples into an incredible wave of relief in their lives. Pro bono work expands your scope of legal knowledge, promotes your business development, and re-energizes your legal passion. Pro bono work is an indispensable part of being the best lawyer you can be, period.”