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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Volunteer Attorney Gives Client a Voice Against Relentless Opposing Counsel

 

By Nicholas Baran, VLSP Family Law Supervising Attorney

 

VLSP is pleased to recognize Diane Gentry as our volunteer of the month for February. Diane has been one of VLSP’s most active volunteers in the Family Law Project, having represented ten clients since 2009. VLSP’s Family Law Project assists low-income clients with family law issues such as divorce, custody of children, and domestic violence.

Gentry started volunteering with VLSP’s Homeless Advocacy Project while she was in law school, which she attended after having raised a family. After being admitted to the bar in 2007, she began practicing probate law, and eventually attended VLSP’s family law training and began representing family law clients.

Gentry describes one of her custody cases as follows, ”One of my clients had been without representation for over two years, and the opposing party was represented very vigorously by experienced counsel. The opposing party was relentlessly trying to deprive my client of legal and physical custody of her children. Due to financial considerations, my client had difficulty obtaining legal counsel. She did not know how to navigate the legal system, and felt overwhelmed by the frequent motions filed by the opposing party. She had even been deposed, where every aspect of her life had been questioned and critiqued. After she obtained legal counsel through VLSP, she no longer felt as vulnerable, and welcomed the opportunity to assert herself. At trial, she was able to confidently and articulately express herself, and the custody status did not change.”

Gentry explains that a quote by George Eliot inspired her to become a lawyer later in life than most, he said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

It is her goal to become a certified family law specialist.

In her spare time, Gentry enjoys traveling and reading history. VLSP is extremely grateful for her great service and is proud to have her as our volunteer of the month.

Visit www.sfbar.org/vlsp for more information about volunteering.

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