GWB is a respected member of the Greenville, Columbia and Charlotte communities and the South Carolina and North Carolina Bar Associations. Accordingly, we take an active role in civic and professional organizations. Our attorneys currently hold or have held leadership positions in 66 different professional and civic organizations. For example, our attorneys have served as President of the South Carolina Bar, President of South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, and President of the Greenville County Bar. Our attorneys have also held significant leadership positions in the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Richland County Bar Association, Carolina Children's Home and the United Way of Greenville County as well as numerous other civic organizations. As a firm, we encourage that type of individual involvement and also look for ways we can collectively become involved in resolving issues that affect our clients, profession and community.
Another way we give back to the community is through the donation of legal services. Pro bono work is required of all lawyers, but we embrace it as an extremely rewarding opportunity which provides unique experiences for our lawyers. Three recent projects exemplify GWB's spirit of voluntarism.
Drew Smith leads an effort among local attorneys to provide legal assistance to local emergency response officials. He meets with policemen, firemen and medical response teams and provides them with simple wills as a way to say thanks to the Upstate's true heroes for their sacrifices. To date, Smith and his group have provided over 600 free wills to our local heroes.
Art Howson represented a local church in its successful effort to obtain a special exception to the zoning ordinance and construct an environmentally friendly "green" parking lot for its use. This green lot, which is surfaced with sod instead of asphalt or concrete, provides the benefits of preserving trees, reducing stormwater runoff, and being compatible with adjoining residential neighborhoods. It's one of the first of its kind in Greenville, and will serve as a model for environmentally responsible development in the future. We're proud of the pro bono leadership all of our lawyers display.
Intellectual property and appellate attorney Tom Vanderbloemen has handled numerous federal court appeals for parties who could not afford representation. In a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC (also the federal appeals court with exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals), Vanderbloemen successfully persuaded the court to vacate an order denying compensation to a veteran who had been improperly re-employed upon returning from military service. Vanderbloemen has handled several other matters at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where he previously worked as a law clerk. In one appeal, he obtained a rare reversal of a criminal conviction and, in another, succeeded in having a dismissal of a civil rights claim reversed.
Community Organizations of Current & Past Involvement