WPXENERGY/Hall Estill/Legal Aid Services GAL Project Launched
Thursday, September 26, 2013
- Organization: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
In-house counsel at WPXEnergy Company and the lawyers at Hall Estill law firm have joined with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma to provide much needed Guardian Ad Litem services to the District Court of Tulsa County.
Recent budget cuts have eliminated funding for any Guardian Ad Litem appointments by the Tulsa judge in guardianship cases. The project has trained twenty volunteers to serve as desperately needed GALS to assist in determining the best interest of the ward in the cases. To do so, they will gather information, review records, and interview parties to assist the guardians in preparing annual reports for the court. They may also gather information to determine that the guardians are protecting the ward’s assets and using them in ways that benefit the ward.
The program was spear-headed by WPXEnergy attorney, Tom Noulles, after he attended the Pro Bono Institute Annual Conference in Washington, DC. He returned to Tulsa with a desire to participate more actively in pro bono matters and to contribute to the increased effectiveness of the pro bono efforts in Tulsa involving his company and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.
Noulles and Karen Langdon, Legal Aid Service’s Pro Bono Coordinator in Tulsa, talked to several Tulsa District Court judges and learned of the pressing need for Guardians Ad Litem. The program was developed over the summer, and then launched on September 25th when the training was held. It is hoped that the volunteers will be able to significantly reduce the burden on the judge to assure that annual guardianship reports are filed on time and reflect the ward’s best interests.