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 at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in our Raleigh office. I’m part of the Labor and Employment team. I work on a variety of litigation matters and defend employers in disputes involving issues such as employment discrimination, wage and hour law, or workplace safety. I also help with employment due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, and counsel employers on a range of compliance matters to reduce the risk of future litigation. I really enjoy the mix of litigation and transactional work and the variety of issues. It keeps my work interesting and allows me develop a broad range of skills. But the best part of my job is the people I work with. It’s a very cooperative and supportive work environment and I’ve learned a lot from the more experienced attorneys I get to work with.

What is your most recent pro bono experience?

Most recently, I worked on a matter for the Pro Bono Resource Center’s COVID-19 Small Business/Nonprofit Initiative. Kilpatrick Townsend is one of the law firms working with the Pro Bono Resource Center to help small businesses and nonprofits navigate the challenges raised by COVID-19. Employment law in particular is an area where businesses have a lot of questions so through the clinic I’ve counseled a number of clients on matters such as unemployment insurance, layoffs, furloughs, and employment policies.

How has engaging in pro bono legal service enriched your career, or enriched you personally or professionally?

Through pro bono service, I’ve had opportunities to work on issues outside of employment law and I’ve worked with other attorneys who I don’t work with regularly, so that has given me an opportunity to learn new things and also use some of my skills and training that I don’t use every day. So it has been professionally enriching in those ways. I went into law to help others and pro bono service is the embodiment of that so it’s been incredibly enriching personally.

Of what moment(s) from your pro bono work are you the most proud?

I’ve been able to help other attorneys at Kilpatrick Townsend in a few matters where we’ve represented an individual facing deportation proceedings. I was born in a strawberry farming town on the central coast of California where there is a large immigrant population so it’s an area of law that is important to me personally. It’s also an area where having representation can make a big difference for the client so when anyone asks me to work on one of those cases it’s pretty hard for me to say no.

What advice would you give someone who has not yet provided any pro bono work?

I don’t think everyone appreciates how easy it is to get involved. Attorneys in North Carolina are very fortunate to have a resource like the Pro Bono Resource Center that makes it so easy to get involved with projects. Some firms, including Kilpatrick Townsend, also have staff dedicated to connecting attorneys with projects. There are people who work hard to bring these projects right to your inbox and will help you find a project that you’re interested in. After that all it takes is a few hours of time to do something that can make a big difference for someone else.