Michael McKelleb of Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow
Michael currently has six open cases with the Pro Bono Project, including four guardianship cases, one landlord/tenant case and one bankruptcy case. He is also a regular participant in the Small Business Project Ask‐A‐Lawyer program and has served as a mentor in the Partners in Pro Bono Mentorship program with the Boyd School of Law. We have repeatedly received great feedback from his clients, both through the Ask‐A‐Lawyer Program and through his case placements.
We asked Michael to discuss his most memorable case; he chose his first. He represented a woman who was caring, without fail, for her grandnieces while their mother was suffering from a substance abuse problem that left her unfit and unable to care for them. Michael assisted the client in obtaining guardianship of the children. He negotiated that the guardianship papers would be executed by the children’s mother at his office only to have her attempt to flee the office with the children. Ultimately, Michael secured the mother’s signature to the guardianship papers by meeting her at the Clark County Detention Center and some stability was brought to the lives of the children.
Fellow attorneys often ask Michael why he does pro bono work when it’s not mandatory and he cites this case. He was able to see the results of his work: children, previously living in chaos, were clean, well‐fed, and most importantly, loved. Michael asks of those attorneys, “What more could an attorney use his skills for? What practice of law is more important than this?” And while that first case may have had the greatest impact, each client makes his or her own imprint on Michael. He tries not to dwell on his success because there are so many more clients that need his efforts and attention.