MCB VLP Volunteer Spotlight - Ajanaclair Lynch
Ajanaclair Lynch, A Mayer Brown associate, was featured on the Mecklenburg Bar's "MCB VLP (Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program) Volunteer Spotlight" webpage in October 2010. Below is the content of that article:
Mayer Brown LLP reached out to Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) to develop a pro bono project tailored to their attorneys' interest and availability. Working with LANC staff, they tailored a project that would assist domestic violence victims in court - primarily with extending restraining orders. Ajanaclair Lynch, a MayerBrown associate, assists many of these victims through this project.
MCB VLP: Current Employer / number of years with current employer?
AL: Mayer Brown LLP / 4 years
MCB VLP: Area of Practice / Expertise?
AL: Banking & Finance
MCB VLP: Law School / Law School Graduation Year?
AL: Brooklyn Law School / 2004
MCB VLP: What is a typical case like?
AL: The cases vary from client to client, but generally involve representation of a victim of domestic violence who has obtained a temporary, 10-day restraining order against the abuser and the victim requests the court to extend the order for one year.
MCB VLP: How many of these type of pro bono cases do you typically handle at one time?
AL: Due to the tight time frame I will generally handle no more than two at a time.
MCB VLP: How do you prepare for handling such cases?
AL: Initially I had to familiarize myself with the rules of evidence, as I dont refer to them often in my finance practice. Generally, I have an initial meeting with the clients to discuss the case, inform them of the process and answer any questions that they may have. I then conduct a formal interview, determine whether any witness testimony is necessary and contact the appropriate agencies to get medical records, 911 tapes and any other evidence that may be useful to the case.
MCB VLP: If case law is applicable, are there any benchmark cases?
AL: Generally, you don't really get into case law as the statute is pretty clear and the judges in Charlotte have been very fair in their determinations. I would recommend anyone doing these cases to familiarize themselves with issues surrounding eviction of domestic violence victims from their homes. North Carolina has a statute under NC Gen. Stat. § 4242.2 that is intended to protect against such actions.
MCB VLP: What is your hope for the future with regard to these cases?
AL: My greatest hope is that cases like this won't exist. However, to the extent that the violence continues to exist, I would love to see more victims gain awareness of the availability of programs like this that are set up to help them.
MCB VLP: What is the best advice you've received during your legal career?
AL: Take responsibility for yourself. While you can seldom control the actions of others, you can always control yourself. By letting your sense of responsibility to yourself guide you in your interactions with others you find yourself being less disappointed and more productive.
MCB VLP: What advice would you give others?
AL: The best advice that I have been given is to be proactive. Life is short and unpredictable. Make every moment count. While it's easier to sit around and wait for things to happen, it's a lot more satisfying and rewarding if you are the one making things happen.
MCB VLP: What is the most challenging part of your career?
AL: It's probably cliché in this day, but balancing a active practice with full time parenting definitely takes its toll.
MCB VLP: What is your favorite part of your current job?
AL: Although my main practice is in banking, I am allowed the opportunity to do pro bono work and give back to the community.