In an era when both state and federal governments seem allied in erecting stiffer challenges for the marginalized in society, let’s praise Sherri and Bobby Patton of Fort Worth for their $2 million donation bolstering Baylor Law School’s considerable pro bono programs that make this school especially relevant in our community. At a time when many so-called Christians cheer political efforts that ostracize and condemn the least of us, Baylor University’s Christian mission sets an example for those who actually heed Jesus’ call for compassion.
Among other things, the Pattons’ gift will allow Baylor Law School to convert former Baylor Law Review offices into a larger pro bono clinic. The school’s pro bono work aids everyone from veterans to immigrants in trying to negotiate a constantly changing and bewildering governmental bureaucracy. The idea behind Baylor’s pro bono work is not only to help folks in need but to instill a stronger sense of civic obligation in the next generation of lawyers and leaders.
We saw this principle in action one night when Baylor law faculty visited a local church and patiently counseled immigrants confused by threats and shifts in immigration law. One can argue immigration policy one way or the other, but BU faculty understood the importance of helping those seeking a better life to understand their options — and to know that ready help was available in any case.