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Audrey Momanaee, partner in the firm’s Houston office and member of the firm’s Litigation Practice, was featured in The Texas Lawbook in a story highlighting her pro bono work with guardianship cases, and the need for this work in the Houston community.
Audrey, named a 2022 Pro Bono Excellence Award Winner by the State Bar of Texas, has a passion for helping families and believes that pro bono work is an essential part of her role as an attorney.
Audrey meets families in need through Houston Volunteer Lawyers, where she also serves on the board. She has dedicated hundreds of hours over the last eight years to this type of pro bono work.
She told The Texas Lawbook she is an advocate for all lawyers doing pro bono work because it “helps your heart” and lawyers are “obligated” to serve the role of helping the underrepresented members of their communities.
“I really focused on guardianships not just because I’ve enjoyed working with the clients, but because I’ve gotten a pro bono specialty in guardianships,” Audrey is quoted as saying. “I’ve gotten more efficient and can help more people [by] understanding [this] area of the law.”
Audrey says the need for help is great for indigent parents seeking guardianship over their adult children. Houston Volunteer Lawyers has a continuous waiting list of families seeking pro bono help with this type of case. Texas law requires parents or grandparents seeking guardianship to be represented by counsel.
Families needing this legal help include parents of children with severe autism, Down syndrome or other disabilities which render them unable to make decisions for themselves. A primary reason many parents seek guardianship over their adult children is so that they can continue to make medical decisions in the best interest of their children.
Audrey said her pro bono work helps her connect with her why as a lawyer.
“I deal with commercial disputes every single day. Commercial disputes are very, very important to my clients,” she is quoted as saying. “There are businesses on the line … [and] money on the line. Doing pro bono work, especially these guardianship cases, really helps me come back to this idea of what is the law there to do, and who are we there to protect? It [helps me] get grounded in those thoughts all the time.”
Other pro bono matters in which she has recently worked on include an immigration case she wrapped up this year, which lasted six years and resulted in her client obtaining a green card. She’s helped negotiate leases for nonprofit organizations and has helped create partnerships with in-house legal teams to expand interest for pro bono opportunities.
Audrey is an experienced trial lawyer working with clients on their most important and complex disputes. She leads Balch & Bingham's Litigation Practice in Texas. Audrey counsels clients in a variety of industries including the energy, construction, real estate, pipeline and chemical refining industries. Audrey’s practice is generally in the state and federal courts of Texas as well as arbitrations both domestic and international. Audrey focuses on matters involving business disputes, commercial claims, catastrophic property claims, construction defects and delays and matters involving trade secret protection and litigation. She has also handled a number of internal investigations for clients in the oil and gas sector.
In addition to her experience handling disputes and investigations, Audrey has counseled clients about allocating risk in agreements and is a regular speaker on the issue of contractual risk allocation and indemnities.