This past Wednesday, Mizzou Law hosted Michael Matthews, ’12, Volunteer Coordinator for Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Michael Spillane, ’11, Staff Attorney for Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Jim Guest, Director of the Volunteer Lawyer’s Program for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and Stacy Schaub, Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri as part of the Pro Bono Month Speaker Series.
These wonderful attorneys represent the four separate Legal Service organizations that represent the citizens of the state of Missouri and each office practices in a wide variety (geographically and culturally) of counties within the State of Missouri. They spoke to the students about the type of work they engage in, which is everything from family law to public benefits to landlord/tenant as well as why they chose to dedicate their legal career to representing the legal interest of indigent and underserved clients.
The advice they gave to students who want to seek employment in public interest and pro bono law is to volunteer now, either by donating time to a legal services organization, or by simply giving back to your community in a non-legal capacity. Students who show true commitment to public interest are the types of attorneys these organizations want to hire.
They also spoke about the benefits their position brings them, including being able to truly make a difference in a person’s life by helping them get Medicaid assistance, or a refund of a security deposit on a rental property that was not up to code. These are small wins that greatly impact the daily lives of their clients.
If you have any questions about volunteering with a legal services organization, please see Jennifer Riedy, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the Career Development Office.