Summer 2018 Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Schuette



Just because they retire doesn’t mean they stop practicing law. Attorneys from all backgrounds volunteer in various units at The Legal Aid Society after retirement. Their presence helps Legal Aid to assist additional clients, and lightens the caseload for our attorneys. They are a vital part of the work we do throughout the Society. One such volunteer is Mary Schuette, who volunteers in our Education Law Unit.

Mary Schuette began her legal career as a labor and employment attorney, and worked her way up to an officer-level position supervising a large group of attorneys and staff in an in-house legal department. Upon her retirement, she began volunteering at various nonprofit organizations, focusing primarily on children and education. At first, her volunteering was primarily ad hoc, but she was looking for something that would entail a long-term commitment. Coincidentally, she served on a panel at Columbia Law School with Lou Sartori, Director of the Pro Bono Practice at Legal Aid about post-retirement options for attorneys. During the course of the discussion, Lou spoke about the Attorney Emeritus Program. Mary thought that Legal Aid might be a good fit for her, and she applied to volunteer.

Mary spends two days per week volunteering in our Education Law Project. She works with Susan Horwitz, the Director of the Project, assisting with various tasks. She has done research, prepared clients for interviews, edited a brief, assisted with preparation for a hearing, and more. For Mary, it has been enjoyable to work for a cause that she cares about, and work with the team on the project. For Legal Aid, it was been helpful to be able to serve more clients and expand the work we do.

When asked what stands out about this experience, Mary says that “no one client or case stands out; what does stand out are the utter dedication, resolve and passion displayed by every single one of the mothers I’ve had the privilege of working with on behalf of their children.”

We are grateful to have Mary volunteering with us, and we know the clients whose lives she is affecting are, too.

Interested in submitting a volunteer profile? Email us to find out how!

Interested in volunteering?  Start searching for pro bono opportunities by interest area (e.g. family, asylum), community served (e.g. domestic violence victims, children) or location right now by using our interactive NY Pro Bono Opportunities Guide!