Professor Manns shares Pro Bono efforts.October 28, 2009
Professor Philip Manns designed, implemented, and conducted the Liberty Counsel/Liberty University School of Law Document Drafting Program for Missionaries of the International Mission Board. Faculty and students of the law school and attorneys affiliated with Liberty Counsel (all of whom are recent graduates of the law school) provide on a pro bono basis Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, and Travel Authorization Documents for missionaries of the International Mission Board. The International Mission Board, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to lead individuals to saving faith in Him and result in church-planting movements among all the peoples of the world.
The IMB Document Drafting Program is part of the extended training that the IMB conducts for missionaries soon to leave the United States for the mission field. During the time missionaries are in residence at the International Learning Center outside Richmond, attorneys and Liberty law students conduct an educational session to teach why estate planning is important, explain how the document drafting program operates, and collect data from clients interested in having documents prepared. At a second session, the missionaries meet with a volunteer attorney and law students, who explain the documents prepared for the clients and assist the clients in executing the documents.
In May 2009, the IMB Document Drafting Program completed its initial round of representations. Sixty clients executed documents prepared by volunteer attorneys. The second round of representations were completed in September for seventy-five clients, and the participants in the November round of representations anticipate serving forty clients.
Professor Manns estimates that he has given hundreds of hours in pro bono work to design the program, prepare document shells, make presentations, draft documents, edit documents, and supervise clients’ execution of documents. He believes that “to those to whom much has been given, much is expected. Lawyers are among those to whom the most has been given,” and says that students should consider becoming involved in pro bono work now:
Scriptural injunctions to help the poor, the needy, and those doing God’s work are
clear. In addition, pro bono work enriches a lawyer’s professional life and training.
The secular world tends to focus on the second of those. We focus on the first
and accept the second as an ancillary benefit.