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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
   
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Law

HunterMaclean Attorney Excels In Her Field, Enjoys Pro Bono Work

HunterMaclean attorney LeeAnn Aldridge believes in the power of giving back to the community.
In 2008, she helped found the MRM Pro Bono Initiative, through which the firm’s attorneys and staff can work together to assist those in need in Savannah. For Aldridge, the idea is to invest in the region’s future by providing legal assistance and volunteer manpower to address critical needs in the community.
“We want to continue HunterMaclean’s tradition of giving back to Savannah, when the city has been so good to all of us, both personally and professionally,” she said. “The only return on investment I hope to see is for the city I have fallen in love with continue to prosper and thrive.” 
Originally from Michigan, Aldridge’s career began as a commercial litigator in Philadelphia, representing lending institutions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on commercial foreclosures and workouts, giving her a practical perspective on the loan and real estate documents which she now negotiates and drafts. A graduate of Princeton University and Villanova University Law School, she is highly regarded by her peers as a leader in her field of commercial finance with a focus in real estate. She is certified to practice law in Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina and enjoys working with nationally-referred clients in various states.
In 2007, Aldridge was elected to the Board of Regents for the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA), a prestigious national group of lawyers specializing in real estate mortgage lending and related fields of law. This position allows this ambitious attorney to network on a national level, which aids in her unique ability to practice in various states.
With politically active grandparents and parents, Aldridge grew up in a family where civic duty was highly valued. Accordingly, pro bono work and volunteering are activities she particularly enjoys and values.  
The MRM Pro Bono Project was named for one of HunterMaclean’s founding fathers Malcolm R. Maclean, a former mayor and key firm partner, and serves as a tribute to his lifetime commitment to the betterment of the Savannah community and the firm’s inspiration to support the initiative.
Aldridge helped spearhead the initiative by organizing and streamlining the firm’s efforts to partner with the Savannah Bar Association on the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) project, Georgia Legal Services on the Elder Home Defense program, the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education on children’s literacy, and CASA on truancy intervention and prevention. 
"When I considered relocating to Savannah from Philadelphia, I researched the city and HunterMaclean, and Mr. Maclean and the history of his incredible leadership of Savannah during difficult times was a major factor in my moving to Savannah and joining the firm,” she said. “I am honored to be part of this project that continues his philosophy and history of giving back to Savannah.”
All of the firm’s pro bono projects are close to her heart, but the children at East Broad Elementary School reaffirm the positive direction the project has taken. Aldridge herself dedicates time to read to various grade levels, presents at their annual honors day program and speaks at the school’s Career Day.
“I find that the children appreciate and crave any amount of attention and energy adults are willing to offer,” she said. “They truly look for guidance in the example we provide.”
From literacy to legal issues, the MRM Pro Bono Project also works with the elderly by providing them with efficient and highly qualified legal services. By partnering with Georgia Legal Services, HunterMaclean attorneys and paralegals are able to assist older persons in clearing discrepancies in title possession to their homes, a necessary step in obtaining financing for home improvement and helping older neighborhoods remain intact.
Aldridge is currently promoting a new effort for the MRM Pro Bono Initiative called In2Books, a national ePal program that promotes literacy learning in grades 2-5 by having students engage in reading and writing experiences with adult pen pals. This online learning program was created in 1997 to enhance the intellectually stimulating work available to students in low-income neighborhoods and with culturally diverse backgrounds.  
The curriculum features carefully chosen, high-quality books and research-proven teaching strategies. Each student is matched with a volunteer who reads the same book the child is reading. Exchanges of online letters between adult and child supplement the reading and refer to the important issues throughout the book. 
“This new pen pal program is a great fit at HunterMaclean,” said Aldridge. “I am particularly excited about it as all employees at our firm -- attorneys and staff -- can participate and it promotes literacy among children who may not have access to diverse levels of learning. It also allows members of our firm  to communicate virtually any time of the day. It’s so important to give back to the community and particularly to children. I’m thrilled to be part of this initiative and to help make a difference in the lives of others.”
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