Jennifer S. Romano
WLALA President 2014-2015
I have been so impressed in the last few months by the amount and type of pro bono work that is being performed by my contacts and colleagues in Los Angeles. What is striking to me is that many times those people who are the busiest in their professional and personal lives are also the most committed to pro bono work.
For example, our own Executive Committee Member, Stacy Horth-Neubert, not only practices law at a major law firm and serves WLALA, but she also runs the pro bono program at her firm. Similarly, former WLALA President, Tanya Forsheit, has her busy privacy practice and, along with her colleagues at Baker Hostetler, she also volunteers her time to WLALA by providing legal advice on privacy issues facing the organization. And, recently, Co-Chair of WLALA’s Amicus Committee, Lisa Jaskol, drafted – in record time – an amicus brief on behalf of WLALA. Lisa also has her day job as Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Appellate Law Program. I see the same commitment of time and energy at my own firm, with many attorneys investing hundreds of hours in pro bono matters each year, often times through referrals from local public interest law organizations.
My pro bono contributions are more modest. I endeavor to meet our firm expectation of 50 hours of pro bono work each year, usually through supervising junior attorneys in asylum, immigration and unlawful detainer actions. I particularly enjoy mentoring our associates, and pro bono work is often an excellent vehicle for more junior attorneys to get stand-up experience while also providing high quality legal work for no fee. The additional bonus, of course, is to have a real impact in the lives of people who face serious challenges in their lives.