Attorney Tommy Gunn was surprised when he learned he received the 2013 Pro Bono Out of County Award from the Jefferson County Bar Association.
He received the award during a reception held at Suga’s Restaurant on October 23 in Beaumont.
Gunn is a long time member of the Pro Bono Program which provides free legal services to indigent individuals in Southeast Texas who lack the funds to retain an attorney.
“I believe all citizens should have equal access to the justice system,” Gunn said during an interview. “Those less fortunate financially often do not get fair and equal access to the justice system.”
Gunn, a 1965 graduate of West Orange High School and was the class Valedictorian, was also the number one graduate in the law school class at Baylor School of Law, before returning to Orange.
The Pro Bono Program mainly assists with domestic matters such as divorce or child custody.
“Usually one side or the other has access to money besides wages,” Gunn said. “This helps level the playing field.”
Gunn also said he believes all attorneys have an ethical duty and responsibility to give back to the community.
He was the former Chairman of the Board of Orange Savings Bank, and now Chairman of the Board of the First Financial Bank Regional Bank , which was formerly Orange Savings Bank, serve on the Board for Rotary, Red Cross and the city attorney for the City of Pinehurst. His wife, Kathy, is also involved in many local civic groups and activities.
Gunn had an opportunity to leave the Orange area upon graduating from law school but choose to return to Orange.
“Family is important,” Gunn said. “I like the lifestyle of Orange”.
The Pro Bono Program consists of lawyers who voluntarily sign up to provide legal services in Hardin, Jefferson and Orange County.
“It covers all South east Texas,” Gunn said. “Providing a needed service to those who don’t have it otherwise.”