Tell me about your regular practice area: Where do you practice and what do you do? What do you love most about your job?
I am Innovation Counsel at McGuireWoods. I focus on helping to increase value to our clients by empowering our lawyers to provide legal services in an efficient and cost effective manner. I also help with the evaluation and integration of technology into our practices.
What is your most recent pro bono experience?
The last couple of matters that I have worked were driver’s license restoration matters.
How has engaging in pro bono legal service enriched your career, or enriched you personally or professionally?
Pro bono matters seem to have a more direct impact on our clients’ lives. Seeing that, as a lawyer, I can help someone in need have access to legal help they would not otherwise get (to improve their access to justice) is rewarding. What some of us see as small victories are huge in the eyes of our pro bono clients. Some of my most satisfying experiences as a lawyer have been with pro bono clients. The look of genuine appreciation and gratitude on a pro bono client’s face is something you don’t forget.
Of what moment(s) from your pro bono work are you the most proud?
There are a couple of moments that come to mind. Several years ago I helped a local nonprofit obtain funding from HUD to build 27 new efficiency units to house people who had been chronically homeless. The loan closing was exciting, but even more so was seeing the residents move into the apartments once they were built. Each resident was so proud to have a new home! The second moment was seeing a young single mother from Liberia take the oath and get sworn in as a US citizen. She was so nervous about the process and thanked me profusely for helping guide her through the process. I periodically get an email from her letting me know how she (and her son) are doing and thanking me once again. It warms my heart to remember that day at USCIS.
What advice would you give someone who has not yet provided any pro bono work?
To use a phrase made famous by Nike, “Just do it!” Pro bono work is truly fulfilling. But, as members of the bar, we also have an ethical obligation to do pro bono work. Use the skills that you have to help others. The need for access to justice is great.