Thomas C. Williams

How long have you volunteered?

I have been volunteering for over 5 years.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I believe that by helping people who would otherwise not have access to legal services we are adding value to the quality of life in our community. Even if we cannot help someone get the outcome that they want we have the opportunity to give people answers. When people understand the legal framework within which they must operate, they can become a little more empowered to avoid some common pitfalls and to create a better life for themselves. Many people come to me with problems that have created a crisis in their life, problems that could have been avoided if they had a basic understanding of the legal nuances of their situation. We can help them with their problems and offer advice to them that helps them to identify and handle these potential problems in the future. In Alabama, lawyers are called to render service and when we render service to the community as a whole, we make our community stronger.

What is your most memorable volunteering experience?

I helped a young lady terminate a lease with a landlord who I believed was taking advantage of her. She was moving out of town to further her education but she had several months left on her lease. She had gone so far as to find a tenant to replace her and to finish the term of her lease. The landlord had her convinced that she was going to have to pay the full balance of the lease regardless of whether or not they re-leased the premises before the end of the lease term. I consulted with my client and helped her reach a fair settlement with her landlord.

What advice can you give attorneys thinking about volunteering with the MCVLP?

I would encourage all lawyers to volunteer. Helping those in need is the purest form of advocacy and has a profound and direct impact on our community. Volunteering also allows lawyers to hone their craft and gain more perspective of the law. The more we practice the better we get!