‘A Night in Shanghai’ to Benefit Oklahoma Lawyers for Children

by | Aug 29, 2014 | Firm News

‘A Night in Shanghai’ to Benefit Oklahoma Lawyers for ChildrenIf dancing Chinese dragons, fireworks and casino gaming grab your attention – all to benefit needy and abused children – plan to attend “A Night in Shanghai”.

Set for Sept. 27 at Dot Wo Garden, the annual casino fundraiser gala held by Oklahoma Lawyers for Children (OLFC) raises money to go toward the group’s continuing effort to provide legal services for youngsters who need representation in Oklahoma’s courts.

The lawyers of Burch, George & Germany are involved in numerous community efforts and are proud to be part of the nonprofit Oklahoma Lawyers for Children. The law firm provides legal representation on a volunteer basis for children in the Juvenile Division of the Oklahoma County District Court.

The firm’s attorneys handle cases in Juvenile Court and participate in jury trials on behalf of children who are in custody of the state of Oklahoma.

“Working with Oklahoma children who often have nobody else in their corner is a rewarding experience for our attorneys,” said Derek Burch, a partner in the firm who now serves on the OLFC Board of Directors and is a previous Volunteer Attorney of the Year. “We hope in some way we can make a difference in their lives.”

Burch received the organization’s Howard K. Berry Award in 2012 after working on abuse cases that led to the removal of a district court judge for fraudulent adoption and fraudulent use of funds.

Oklahoma Lawyers for Children has more than 1,000 volunteer attorneys and 400 non-lawyers who work to protect the legal rights of children who endure abuse, neglect and deprivation. They help prepare for and provide counsel for children at emergency show cause hearings each day of the year, in addition to providing representation that exceeds national standards on legal counsel for deprived children. These volunteers save Oklahoma more than $4.1 million each year by donating legal services.

The organization was founded by attorneys Don R. Nicholson II and D. Kent Meyers after they took a Child Watch Tour in 1997 of the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center and the Pauline Mayer Shelter. They couldn’t believe how many children were mired in the system and began recruiting attorneys to take the children’s court cases.

A year later, the Oklahoma County District Court Judges ordered cases of some 5,000 children in the juvenile justice system to be re-assigned to the organization directly from the Juvenile Public Defender’s office. Three years ago, the judges authorized OLFC volunteers to handle cases involving special circumstances in Oklahoma County District Court.

The organization continues to evolve by offering services such as Guardian Ad Litem representation, help with medical, dental, educational and mental health services and assistance with special needs, trusts and DDSD trusts.

Oklahoma Lawyers for Children has been asked by the Juvenile Court System to set up a new program that meets national standards, and that will require it to “ramp up” its structure to serve more than 11,000 children in the state Department of Human Services, two-thirds of whom live in Oklahoma County, according to CEO Thompson.

“To do this is going to require a lot of internal structure and management improvements on our end,” Thompson said. “The fundraiser will help meet those demands.”

The state of Oklahoma is only as strong as its communities, and its communities are only as strong as its people. By helping these children at a difficult time in their lives, Oklahoma’s attorneys can give them the support they need to grow and become responsible adults.

Mark your calendar for Sept. 27 to enjoy “A Night in Shanghai.” It will be a memorable occasion to help a worthy cause. Sponsorship packages, tables and individual tickets are available. For information, call 405-232-4453 or email OLFC President and CEO Tsinena Thompson at tthompson@olfc.org.