Reflecting on Bench and Bar Build

On September 28th, attorneys and other local legal professionals welcomed special guests Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods, Judge Piper D. Griffin, and Judge Robin Pittman in an unusual setting: a Habitat build site.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, members of the legal community teamed up regularly to give back at Bench & Bar Build. In 2018, NOAHH hosted its first Bench & Bar since Hurricane Katrina; in 2019, the build grew even more, with more than 60 volunteers working tirelessly through the day with 14 local firms and legal services organizations raising nearly $20,000 for Habitat.

For many volunteers, Bench & Bar Build provided an opportunity to act on shared values and forge new friendships. “I appreciate the opportunity to not only work with members of the legal community who share my compassion for helping others, but also to help a family realize their dream of homeownership,” stated Judge Piper D. Griffin. “It is all such a humbling experience.”

Judge Griffin found the opportunity to work alongside partner families to be unique. “It is so rewarding to watch as a new home for someone you do not know takes shape,” Griffin shared.

Bill Wright and Cassie Gailmor of Deutsch Kerrigan were instrumental to the build’s success. Bill, honorary chair of Bench & Bar and former president of NOAHH’s Board of Directors, recruited 12 firms to sign up as build sponsors.

“A Habitat build is an excellent opportunity to network with fellow attorneys and local judges, while working side by side with a hardworking future homeowner,” said Bill.

Cassie led the Young Lawyers Section’s recruiting efforts for last year’s build. “I was newly pregnant [during the build], so my abilities were limited,” said Cassie. “I decided to recruit my dad, who is a professional contractor. It turned out that my pregnancy wasn’t an issue—there were plenty of jobs for me to do—and my dad fell in love with Habitat! I know the work we did changed the life of the family that moved into that home, but it also changed my family’s life.”

2019 Bench and Bar Sponsors

  • Baker Donelson
  • Galloway Johnson
  • Bourgeois Bennett
  • Chaffe McCall
  • Jones Walker
  • Shields | Mott
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Deutsch Kerrigan
  • Gainsburgh Benjamin
  • Butler Law Firm
  • Herman Herman & Katz
  • MAPS
  • Kean Miller
  • Phelps Dunbar