The Scott County Volunteer Lawyers Project* is a joint program of the Scott County Bar Association and the HELP Regional Office of Iowa Legal Aid, and has existed since 1981 for the purpose of involving the private bar in assisting low income persons with legal matters involving basic human needs. Approximately 160 attorneys currently participate in the program. This program is the product of a longstanding relationship between the private bar and the HELP Regional Office in attempting to more fully meet the legal needs of the poor.

Attorneys who donated 50 or more hours in 2016 include Abby Furlong, James Greenwood, Sandra Madsen, Tommy Miller, and Sam Skorepa. James, Sandra, and Tommy currently volunteer in-house at the HELP Regional Office. Tommy has been volunteering since 2004, and has donated over 12,000 hours in total.

Each year the William B. Waterman Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award is presented by the Scott County Bar Association to an individual attorney who exemplifies service through pro bono work.

The 2017 recipient is Michael J. McCarthy. Seventh Judicial District Chief Judge Marlita Greve commented, “If there was a lifetime achievement award, it would go to Mike. Although the old records no longer exist, we think Mike has been assisting clients since the beginning of the Pro Bono Project in 1981. Mike doesn’t say ‘no’ when he is contacted about a referral, and generally takes one or more cases per year. In the last 6 years, Mike has accepted 10 cases, donating over 120 hours, not including the time spent on his 2 current open cases. Almost all of the cases have been contested family law custody or divorce cases, involving either abuse of the children or abuse of his client. In a recent client survey, the client wrote: ‘It was handled awesome. Mike is a great attorney.’ We agree.”

Congratulations, Mike, for winning the 2017 William B. Waterman Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award.

*To sign up for the Scott County Volunteer Lawyers Project, contact Bob Heimer at the HELP Regional Office of Iowa Legal Aid (563-322-6216 ext 1913), the Scott County Bar Association ( or register online at

[Pictured: Bob Heimer, Joan McCarthy, Mike McCarthy, and Chief Judge Marlita Greve]