Rewarding Pro Bono Work for Corporate Attorneys: One Volunteer's Experience
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Volunteer of the Month
"After graduating from law school, most attorneys really want to do pro bono, and when they are interviewing, they ask the firms about their pro bono resources. Then they get so busy that they don't do it or they can't find opportunities that use their corporate skills," explains Cooley Godward associate and VLSP's Volunteer of the Month, Jaimee King. "[The Community Organization Representation Project] is one of the few projects that offers pro bono opportunities that utilize the skills of corporate associates."
VLSP's Community Organization Representation Project (CORP) provides legal assistance to community-based organizations that serve low-income and disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area. Last year, CORP provided legal assistance to more than 100 local organizations, and that assistance helped those groups focus their resources on the programs that make a difference in our communities.
Jaimee King, VLSP Volunteer of the Month
Jaimee took her first pro bono project through CORP in January 2003, when she agreed to work with the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF), a nonprofit lender and technical assistance provider dedicated to strengthening the economic base of low-income communities. Though the project originally was scheduled to last for only one month, Jaimee worked diligently with NCCLF for several months, with exhaustive direction and support from Cooley partner Brett White and peer associate Terri Foreman. "I couldn't have done this project without all of the guidance and help from Brett and Terri," Jaimee says. "It was great to be able to work with other attorneys in a different way. Normally we wouldn't have the chance to work together like we did on this project."
Cooley Godward's strong commitment to pro bono work allowed Jaimee to devote ample time to NCCLF. "Cooley is very actively engaged in pro bono," she observed. "The firm's support meant that we were able to provide NCCLF with the same level of service that any paying client would receive." In fact, Cooley estimates that Cooley attorneys and staff volunteered more than $90,000 in services to NCCLF.
After months of close work with NCCLF, Jaimee has nothing but praise for the organization: "NCCLF is incredibly skilled at what it does. I was impressed at how professionally they run their organization. They were very astute and willing to learn." Mary Rogier, NCCLF's President, also has only warm words for Jaimee and the rest of the Cooley team: "I am extremely grateful for the amount of work that Cooley has done for the organization and for they expertise they have provided."
"This experience has made me want to do more pro bono work," Jaimee says. "I have never had a client be so appreciative in my whole life -- it was humbling. NCCLF is one of those thousand points of light. They are doing incredible things for the community I live in, and I am glad to be able to help them."
To find out more about VLSP's Community Organization Representation Project, send an email to Amanda Chavez or call her at (415) 782-8956.