ATJ Pro Bono Champion: Mark Melton
Dallas Partner Mark Melton was recognized in the Texas Bar Journal's ATJ Pro Bono Champion, a quarterly feature highlighting the work of an attorney chosen by the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Mr. Melton began posting information about eviction moratoria on social media in March 2020, and his posts drew such a large response that he formed the group Dallas Evictions 2020, recruiting 175 other volunteers to assist his pro bono efforts. So far, the group has helped more than 6,000 tenants facing eviction in the area. He explained that the group's focus is on keeping vulnerable populations housed, adding that although the attorneys do not represent landlords, they do regularly educate landlords on the various eviction moratoria and maintain positive working relationships with them. He also said that despite the often emotionally draining aspects of his work, his own experience with homelessness drives him to continue to help others.
"Most days I spend a lot of time talking with people having one of the worst days of their lives. That certainly takes its emotional toll, as it's hard not to absorb some of that pain," he said. "On the whole, it's rewarding work that makes a real and immediate difference in the lives of a lot of people who aren't otherwise able to help themselves."