Tanya D. Hendrix, Esq.
Leigh Daniel & Associates
1. How long have you volunteered?
I have volunteered with the Madison County Volunteer Lawyer's Program for about a year. Prior to moving to Madison County, I was a board member and volunteer for the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyer's Program for about two years.
- Why do you volunteer?
Like many lawyers, I entered this profession to help people in need, to change the world, defend the constitution, and do what is just and right. Though I've been able to accomplish some of those goals in my practice, the reality of paying bills prohibits the ability to help those most in need - those who can't afford quality legal representation. Spending a few hours volunteering with MCVLP affords me the opportunity to change someone's world by offering them advice and/or representation they could otherwise not afford. There are so many people who, because of their poverty, live in fear of the legal system and what they do not know. It's gratifying to alleviate their fear and set them on the right path, to do my part in doing what is just and right. As a Christian, it is my duty and responsibility to help the poor, to be the voice for the voiceless, and protect the vulnerable from being taken advantage of.
- What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
My most memorable experience is a recent one. While volunteering at the Family Law Clinic, I counseled with a man who smelled horrible. It was bad. He was older and had a disability that affected his walking and cognitive abilities. After going through all of the issues he was facing, it came down to primarily, and immediately, needing to file an answer. I instructed him on what to do. However, he pierced my heart when he lowered his head, looked up at me, and begged me to help him do the paperwork. All he needed to do was write, "I deny and demand strict proof", but he was unable to perform that simple task. I will always remember the look on his face when he asked me to help. It was a look of embarrassment and desperation. He had previously been an educator, but here he was in desperate need of help to perform even a simple task. It is for people like him that I volunteer.
- What advice can you give other attorneys who are thinking about volunteering with the MCVLP?
You can volunteer as much or as little as you want. You can volunteer at a clinic, taking only 3 hours of your time, or you can take on a case. Taking on a case does not have to be time consuming, and will likely only take a few hours of your time. Volunteering is easy. It is a good way to remind yourself what is good and right about the practice of law.