[Adapted and Reprinted from San Francisco Attorney, Summer 2018]
We know that law is a challenging profession and it can take a toll on your physical and emotional health, but volunteering even just a little bit of your time will bring you emotional satisfaction and balance. Call it pro bono for the soul.
Now, you are a lawyer. As such, chances also are that you are busy—really busy—with a full schedule. We understand that you may not have time to build a new program, figure out what your various options are, or even explore where to begin in the first place. The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) has already done all of this for you.
This month, we are highlighting just one example: Limited-Scope Family Law Motions.
With just one child custody motion and hearing, you can stabilize lives. For example, one client came to JDC after her husband abruptly left her and their child. She was devastated, struggling to get by on one income, and hold it all together for her child. She was facing all sorts of challenges, including legal ones. With the father gone, she could not submit paperwork and authorizations that required both parents. JDC’s volunteers filed a motion asking the court to grant our client sole custody of her child. She said that when that one motion was granted and she knew her child would have a more stable situation, she felt she could get her life back on track. A fellow San Franciscan was in need, and a JDC volunteer gave her and her child the advocacy and the basic human support she needed to move forward.
How long did this lawyer have to give to change the lives of this mother and her child? 20-30 hours over 3-4 months.
Upcoming Family Law trainings:
Wednesday, September 19 at 4-5 p.m.
Wednesday, October 24 at 4-5 p.m.
To sign up or learn more, email email@example.com.
And, since you are a lawyer, we will cover some of the technicalities here just so there are no questions (or excuses):
JDC has malpractice insurance for its volunteers. JDC also provides training and constant support for its volunteers. And, you can rest assured that you will not be the first person to volunteer for these programs, and they have been running successfully for years.
The upshot is this: your community needs you, and we have ready-made opportunities for you to help your fellow San Franciscans and yourself in the process. Just show up, learn a little, and do what you do every day: advocate for a deserving client.
Malcolm A. Heinicke is the 2018 president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Justice & Diversity Center. A partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, his practice focuses on employment and complex commercial litigation, particularly in class and collective actions and employee mobility matters.