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 practice the law of discovery as part of the National Discovery Team for McGuireWoods. In short, I specialize in the very first part of litigation – when the parties exchange documents. I love interacting with a wide range of professionals, and I am a little bit of a tech nerd, so I love getting into that aspect of my job.
What is your most recent pro bono experience?
For years I have been conducting a healthcare power of attorney clinic at the Pride Festival on behalf of the firm with a pen and paper and a tent. Unfortunately, Pride was canceled this year due to the pandemic. After I became a part of the pro bono committee at the firm, I suggested that we get our anchor clients involved. This year we are partnering with the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, Bank of America, and Duke Energy to provide healthcare power of attorney documents and living wills to host a virtual clinic to provide services to people in the LGBTQ+ community who would not be served this year during a very critical time while facing the thread of COVID.
How has engaging in pro bono legal service-enriched your career, or enriched you personally or professionally?
It has allowed me to make connections I would have never made otherwise. Most importantly, I believe that being given the privilege of practicing law comes with an obligation to use your knowledge of the legal system to the benefit of those who cannot afford representation on their own terms. Not only does helping someone in need feel great, but I think it also is my duty as a practicing lawyer.
Of what moment(s) from your pro bono work are you the most proud?
With the ongoing national attention to racial injustice, I think my most rewarding pro bono experience so far has been getting involved with expunction work. This work enables people to clean up their criminal record, if qualified, and allows individuals to pursue careers and dreams they might not otherwise be able to pursue. I am currently helping an individual who wants to be a nurse, and helping to clear her criminal record may allow her to pursue that dream.
What advice would you give someone who has not yet provided any pro bono work?
As lawyers, we are always busy and pro bono is an easy thing to forget. However, it is so essential to make time to help people in need. The practice of law is a privilege, not a right, and as such it is our obligation to use our skills to help others.