The Texas Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission honored Marc E. Vockell, executive director of intellectual property litigation for Dell Inc., with the ATJ Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Award on Thursday, June 14, during the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas. Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court’s liaison for access to justice issues, presented the award to Mr. Vockell for actively providing pro bono legal services to low-income Texans and promoting a pro bono culture within Dell.
“Marc Vockell is a stellar example of the legal community’s efforts to assist low-income Texans with civil legal issues,” Justice Hecht said. “He has donated his time to help those in dire need of legal assistance, and has encouraged colleagues to dedicate hours to pro bono services as well.”
After joining Dell in 2004, Mr. Vockell created a partnership with the Austin office of Vinson & Elkins to help staff evening legal advice clinics held by Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (VLS), a nonprofit legal aid provider. In addition to attending those clinics, he recruited and trained Dell attorneys.
Recently, Mr. Vockell also helped create a partnership with Dell and the Austin office of Baker Botts L.L.P. to handle six pro bono cases through VLS. Through the partnership, Dell and Baker Botts will assist low-income clients who are unable to afford a private attorney to help with issues such as divorce and child custody cases.
“Marc’s leadership in increasing involvement of corporate legal departments has been a great contribution to access to justice,” Harry Reasoner, chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, said. “Corporate legal departments can provide both critical pro bono legal assistance themselves and can provide leadership in involving law firms which have not previously participated in pro bono legal work.”
As chair of Dell’s Pro Bono and Community Involvement Committee, Mr. Vockell was a driving force behind the adoption of the company’s goal encouraging every Dell attorney to serve at least 10 pro bono hours per year.
“One reason that Marc is such an effective pro bono leader is that he leads with both words and actions,” Scott Kearns, senior counsel for Dell, said. “He is an example we should all follow.”
In addition to promoting volunteerism within Dell, Mr. Vockell has dedicated his personal time and efforts to improving access to justice. Since May 2008, he has served on the board of directors for VLS and served as president in 2011. He also served as a commissioner for the Texas Access to Justice Commission from 2009 to 2012.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission established the ATJ Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Award in 2008 to honor individual corporate counsel and in-house Texas attorneys who actively promote and work towards providing access to courts for low-income Texans. Throughout the past year, he also provided pro bono representation with three cases.