How long have you volunteered?
I’ve been a VLP volunteer since I returned to Alabama in 2000, but became more significantly involved in 2009 when I joined the MCVLP Board.
Why do you volunteer?
First, it’s good for me – it is personally rewarding because it feels like I’m doing something good for others, and that puts me in a better mood, reducing stress. Second, it helps me gain experience professionally – there isn’t one case I’ve ever been involved with where I haven’t learned something. And, third, I believe it is my duty – Rule 6.1 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct says, “A lawyer should render public interest legal service.” If we do not, then who will?
What is your most memorable volunteering experience?
Each client benefits from what our volunteers do for them, and there have been a lot of highlights for me. But probably the most memorable was one that my friend, Pam Pierson, wrote about in a piece on the State’s volunteers lawyer programs in the Alabama Lawyer (71 Ala. Law. 45 (Jan. 2010). It was the story of when I represented someone whose credit card was stolen and who was being hounded by collections companies. My client came away vindicated and with a good feeling about the legal process.
What advice can you give attorneys thinking about volunteering with the MCVLP?
Quit thinking about it and just do it! It takes only as much time as you want to devote to it, it makes you feel good, and you might just learn something.