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.
Taking confidentiality into consideration, will you please tell your favorite story about a pro bono case?
“The client who loaned his car to a friend who allowed it to be towed and the towing company threatened to sue him for excess fees over what they sold it for at auction. One letter and the Towing Co. never bothered the client again.” – Ron Mattson
“Recently – setting up and serving at the phone bank for R74 last year. Further back – A client w/ AIDS was hospitalized. His sister, confident that he wouldn’t be coming home, came to town and helped herself to all his stuff. She virtually “cleaned out” his apartment, making gifts (w/o his knowledge or permission) of his personal property (including nice jewelry, camera gear, art, etc) as she saw fit. Fast work and close cooperation w/ law enforcement allowed us to recover nearly all of his stuff and write a will & power of attorney documents to clarify what was really supposed to happen when he’d get sick again.” – David Hiscock
“My favorite anecdote is getting a copyright case, since that’s relatively rare and is the practice area I’m most interested in. The client, a professional photographer, had taken 1000s of photos of rock stars in clubs like the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. They included photos of the Doors and other major rock groups. He brought in hundreds of unpublished photos and showed them to me. It was cool to be only the second person ever to see these remarkable photos of rock stars I idolized and to hear his stories about hanging out with people like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.” – Joseph Militello
“The very night after telling one of my young but grown ’kids’ that I had some concerns about them being approached by a good friend as a co-signer for a business loan -for a new restaurant- with promises over the rainbow if everything worked out as planned, that grown child’s buddy walked into the clinic (who I hadn’t seen in many years) and asked me to look over a promissory note that his friend had drafted for him to sign, in return for a loan as a silent equity partner in his friend’s business (no relation to the above). It was deja vue all over again.” – 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