Volunteer Panel Discussion: First Shift Anxiety

In celebration of Pro Bono Week, the Neighborhood Legal Clinics and Volunteer Legal Services Programs asked their volunteers a few questions about their experiences. We hope this discussion is a reminder of how valuable your pro bono work is, and if you’re not currently volunteering, why you should get involved.

If you are a volunteer with the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, were you nervous on your first ever shift at the clinics?

“Yes, simply because it was a ‘new’ situation. That lasted about 10 minutes.” – Ron Mattson


“Yes, I was nervous on my first shift because I had never worked with interpreters before and I had never had client contact. I was worried about making a mistake or making a client’s experience more difficult.” – Molly Lindquist


“I was nervous for my first shift because any legal issue could walk through the door at a NLC.  In law school and practice I have always walked into a room prepared to discuss an issue in depth.  At NLC you may only have a vague notion of the law being applied or it may even be something you have never come across.  It’s intimidating at first, until you realize that you don’t have to know the issue completely in order to refer to someone who does or give guidance about how to navigate a particular issue.” – Kara Morse


“I’m always nervous going in to the clinic that a client will have an issue that I can’t help him or her with. Although this does happen occasionally, I can usually provide whatever help one can give in a half-hour consultation. It’s not really a problem since I can refer the client to someone who can help even when I can’t, and clients are almost always grateful for whatever little help you can give, like explaining basic legal concepts or even just being a good listener and offering moral support.  They don’t expect you to solve all their problems, but merely to give guidance. I’m actually surprised at how often I do feel on top of the issues even outside of legal practice areas I’ve studied formally or more in-depth.” Joseph Militello


“I remember thinking, ‘wish I had my bar review outlines with me’.” – Anonymous


Interested in Volunteering with the Volunteer Legal Services or the Neighborhood Legal Clinics? Learn more here!


Volunteer Panel:
Ron Mattson, attorney volunteer since 1993. Volunteers with multiple Neighborhood Legal Clinics, the Family Law Mentor Program, Self-Help Plus, the Family Law Information Center, and is a Volunteer Settlement Conference Master.
David Hiscock, attorney volunteer since 1994. Volunteers with Volunteer Legal Services with a focus on volunteering for persons with HIV and AIDS (VAPWA)
Molly Lindquist, law student volunteer since 2011. Volunteers with the Cross Cultural Domestic Violence Clinic.
Kara Morse, attorney volunteer since July 2013. Volunteers with the Federal Way Neighborhood Legal Clinic.
Joseph Militello, attorney volunteer since March 2013. Volunteers with the Lake City Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Previously a volunteer on the NLC scheduling line.
Anonymous, attorney volunteer since 2004. Volunteers with the Neighborhood Legal Clinics


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