VOICES OF THE VLP
Voices of the VLP features accounts from volunteer attorneys about their invaluable work and the clients who have been helped by them.
Hear From Our Attorneys
“I volunteer with the VLP out of a desire to contribute to our community and the legal profession. With a legal practice primarily representing businesses, working with the VLP provides an opportunity for me to help further the interests of individuals and families in need. Beyond contributing to the good work of the VLP, this helps me satisfy a desire to serve in a manner different than my ‘day job’ allows.”
“I have been volunteering with VLP for over 30 years. It has always been an important of my practice. When I was a young lawyer it helped me get experience, build my skills and my practice. VLP has been a great networking tool for me as I got to know the staff, and eventually served on the Board. The VLP has enriched my life and my practice. I love the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.”
“As lawyers, we are fortunate to have treasure, time and talent to share with those who need it – it’s our obligation, and should be our pleasure, to do so when we can. As a career-long VLP volunteer lawyer and former VLP board member, I can confidently state that I have gotten far more out of my service to the VLP, both professionally and personally, than I could have imagined.”
“I volunteer for the VLP for multiple reasons. First, it is our obligation as lawyers to serve those who need it but cannot afford it. Second, I have become a better lawyer by learning from the experience of representing clients with very personal, impactful legal issues. Finally, the work is gratifying. I have found that VLP clients are among the most grateful I’ve ever had the privilege to serve. For lawyers who went to law school because they have an “itch” to help people, VLP work “scratches that itch” as much as any work I’ve ever done.”
Hear About Our Clients
“Karen” had surgery at an area hospital. Only 22 and in a minimum wage job, she was still covered by her mother’s insurance. After the surgery, the hospital failed to file an insurance claim or contact Karen or her mother about the bill. Karen only discovered the problem when the hospital sued her for payment of $11,000. At that point, her mother contacted the insurance company, which told her it was too late to file a claim. Karen faced years of wage garnishment if forced to pay this alleged debt.
Karen’s mom talked to the hospital’s attorney to address the issue and sent him a formal response document. However, not being an attorney, she did not realize she also had to file her “Answer” with the court. By the time the VLP got involved, the hospital had filed a motion for default judgement. Thankfully, due to attorney Brian Pokrywka’s efforts, the hospital dismissed all claims, with prejudice.
“Ms. Smith” is a single mother trying to raise two teenage daughters. She is also a veteran having served in the military from 1979-1982. Ms. Smith has since become disabled. She and her girls were trying to get by on disability income alone. Ms. Smith was unable to keep up with her bills. Consequently, she was not able to obtain utility services. Ms. Smith was seeking a fresh start to provide a home for her family when she same to Legal Aid and the VLP for assistance. The VLP secured a private attorney to take Ms. Smith’s case and file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The VLP attorney was able to secure a discharge of all Ms. Smith’s debt. After the bankruptcy, Ms. Smith reports she is able to take care of her girls. “I am very grateful to my attorney,” she said. “She was extremely helpful, kind and professional.”
Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation