There is a truism that states, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Kelly Tubman Hardy, Esq., certainly exemplifies that maxim. Hardy is a partner at DLA Piper and serves as the regional office head for the Baltimore Corporate and Finance Group. As the firm’s “Global Desk Partner” in Baltimore, she works on major international transactions and is responsible for the flow of work between the firm’s Baltimore office and its offices outside the U.S. Hardy is also the proud mother of two young girls.
As is generally true with all devotees, Hardy’s dedication began early. She volunteered to teach English as a second language on Saturday mornings well before she went to law school. Following graduation and admittance to the Bar, a natural extension of her caring nature was to assist the Baltimore Hispanic community in a legal capacity.
Hardy sees a need and offers her time to fill the void. “I believe my first pro bono case was a bankruptcy, but I have done everything – helping a client get back a car back that had been improperly confiscated, landlord / tenant problems, school Individual Education Plan (IEP) problems, as well as political asylum cases – whatever came in the door,” she says.
Hardy has not let inexperience in a particular field of law deter her from helping when people sought assistance. With the caution born of years of experience in corporate financial work, she learned the necessary law for the varied pro bono cases she undertook. “It’s like being a first-year associate every single day because you don’t know the law, but over time you build up a sense,” she explains. Hardy notes that there are many valuable resources existing in the community to help the pro bono attorney learn what is necessary to take on a case. “One thing that has served to make me comfortable is that I know, without my help, these clients will be unrepresented,” Hardy adds. In addition to the cases she takes on herself, she also coaches DLA Piper associates in their pro bono cases.
In addition to her obvious commitment to meeting local needs, Hardy is keenly aware of global human needs. She has recently undertaken a new pro bono project providing advice and counsel to the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project. The goal of the Project is to work with governments, the corporate sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop deforestation of the rainforests while at the same enabling them to be profitable and self-sustaining.
Hardy is leading the DLA Piper team assigned to Latin America. The goal of the team is to research and assess the existing legal framework of Columbia, Peru and Guatemala with respect to land tenure rights, indigenous rights and forest management. They then identify and assess risks, as well as deforestation “hot spots.” Hardy has been working on the project for less than three months but has already dedicated 250 pro bono hours, including a week spent in Lima, Peru.
“It is in my pro bono work that I really touch people’s lives,” Hardy says. “It is hard work, but it is very, very gratifying”.
Support the legal service agencies in your community. Add your resources to the fight. For more information on volunteer opportunities in Maryland, please call Jon Moseley at the Pro Bono Resource Center at (410) 837-9379 or (800) 396-1274, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Moseley is Director of Volunteer Services & Community Outreach for the ProBonoResourceCenter of Maryland.