June 11, 2015
Natalie Smeltzer, a Corporate associate in Weil’s Dallas office, has been named the winner of the 2015 Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL) Pro Bono Service Award. The award recognizes the public service or legal aid performed by a young Dallas lawyer who in the previous year has provided outstanding contributions and access to justice to those in need of legal services.
In 2014 alone, Ms. Smeltzer performed a remarkable 581.8 hours of pro bono legal service, which included 536 hours serving as Weil’s Lend-A-Lawyer to the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP). In this capacity, she worked full-time on-site at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas’ offices from August to the end of November 2014, handling 16 pro bono cases during her tenure.
Weil worked with DVAP (a joint initiative of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas) in 2005 to develop the innovative Lend-A-Lawyer initiative, through which Weil annually sends a third- or fourth-year attorney to perform three months of full-time pro bono legal service at DVAP’s office while the attorney continues to receive full pay and benefits from Weil. To date, Weil has sent 10 attorneys to DVAP through the Lend-A-Lawyer initiative, including most recently Ms. Smeltzer.
Apart from Ms. Smeltzer’s Lend-A-Lawyer work, she also provided pro bono service through DVAP Legal Clinics on behalf of indigent clients throughout the year. Due to Ms. Smeltzer’s dedication to serving her community, and for her service as a member of Weil’s Dallas Office Pro Bono Committee, she was also the recipient of the 2014 Weil Pro Bono Service Award.
“Natalie has done an amazing job with her pro bono work,” said Courtney Marcus, co-managing partner of Weil’s Dallas office. “She has gone above and beyond in her dedication and support to help those in the community who are in need of legal assistance. Weil firmly believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and Natalie is a perfect example of this philosophy in action.”