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October Volunteer Spotlight: CORP volunteer Greg Conklin

Monday, October 03, 2005

  • By: Megan Low
  • Organization: VLSP

Greg Conklin is not one to shy away from new experiences. A partner in the Corporate Transactions Department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's San Francisco office, Greg talks about his recent pro bono work with as much gusto as he talks about travel, art, or playing his cello.Indeed, Greg's work with BASF"s Volunteer Legal Services Program's (VLSP) Community Organization Representation Project (CORP)-including three matters in 2005 alone-is a testament to his vast and varied enthusiasm.

Through CORP, transactional attorneys are matched with nonprofit organizations that serve low-income communities throughout Northern California. To this end, Greg and his team of Gibson Dunn associates-Dora Arash, Heather Bell, Mas Harntha, Sean Feller, Richard Riecker, Erin Rothfuss and Kendra Kresse-have helped nonprofits with issues ranging from incorporation and filing tax exempt applications with the IRS, to providing legal assistance on a merger. The firm has been deeply involved with CORP since 1999, and has worked on 22 different CORP matters in that time.

Doug Ford, who sits on the Board of Allied Housing, a group that promotes affordable housing in conjunction with job training and supportive services, was thrilled with Greg's work on the development of a merger with Tri City Homeless Coalition last year. Doug says, "Without the legal assistance provided through VLSP, this successful outcome would have been much harder to achieve and would have taken considerably more time, two factors that might have killed the process." Thanks to the efforts of Greg and his team, the merged organization will be able to provide more comprehensive and effective services to its low-income clients.

Greg has also recently done pro bono work on behalf of Cure Arthritis Now, an advocacy group for arthritic patients, for I.C. Jobs, an organization that helps disadvantaged young adults start their own businesses, and for SF Earned Assets Resource Network (EARN), an organization devoted to helping low-income people build and leverage their own assets.

Haydee Alfonso, supervising attorney of CORP says, "Mr. Conklin demonstrates his commitment to pro bono through the number, scope and breadth of the projects he takes on-most of which have been complex in nature and have required an extended time commitment, and all of which have contributed to strengthening our community."

Greg's exceptional work earned him a 2004 Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Award from VLSP. But he is quick to thank his Gibson Dunn associates, without whom, he says, "none of this could happen."

Born and raised in New Jersey, Greg graduated from Brown University and later received a joint J.D.-M.B.A from Columbia University in New York City. It was there he met his wife Michiko. After spending several years with New York firms, Greg and Michiko moved to the Bay Area in 1991. They have a son, Jack, who is six-years-old.

These days, Greg enjoys biking in Sonoma and exploring local art galleries, but the lure of foreign culture-indulging his inner "museum enthusiast," as he says-gives way to a travel bug every now and then. Greg says he'll probably hold off on international travel for a little while longer, until Jack is old enough to appreciate the finer points of, say, Rome. In the meantime, he will continue to find new experiences and challenges through his pro bono work.

For more information about VLSP and CORP, please contact VLSP's Recruitment Coordinator, Megan Low at 415.782.8958 or vlsp@sfbar.org.

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