Can you tell me a little about your private practice?
I am in-house counsel for Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm with over 68,000 employees based in strategic locations around the world. The Firm’s Wealth Management division provides advice to individual investors and institutions alike to help our clients reach their individual financial goals. As an attorney within the Firm’s Global Litigation, Early Dispute Resolution Unit, I am responsible for investigating, evaluating, and responding to customer alleged sales practice and banking complaints. Additionally, I am responsible for reviewing and responding to regulatory inquires arising from such complaints.
How did you first get involved with PBRC?
After attending a PBRC informational session, arranged by a colleague and Sharon Goldsmith, Executive Director of PBRC, I first became involved with the organization as a pro-bono attorney with the Unaccompanied Minors Clinics. This clinic assists unaccompanied immigrant children with their immigration relief needs. Volunteer attorneys, together with volunteer Spanish-speaking interpreters, work to interview children and refer them to local legal service providers for full representation. The pro bono opportunities presented offered quality trainings, convenience, and made a significant impact on the community.
Can you talk a little about your history with PBRC, as a board member and/or as a volunteer?
As a volunteer, I became familiar with other services PBRC offered. I was very impressed with the quality of such services and the trainings offered to volunteer attorneys. I was equally impressed with the passion and dedication demonstrated by PBRC’s leadership, staff, and bench of volunteers. When I was asked to consider a seat on the board, I was both humbled and excited at the prospect of working with PBRC in this capacity. PBRC has a rich history of identifying and responding to pertinent social and legal issues throughout Maryland. As a board member, I aim to further PBRC’s mission and promote its contributions across Maryland. Additionally, the Board works to ensure that PBRC continues to be in a position to offer high impact legal services that meet the needs of so many Marylanders.
What do you find unique or distinctive about PBRC within Maryland’s legal landscape?
PBRC is the pro bono arm of the Maryland State Bar Association and by design has the distinct role of preparing and providing training, support and advocacy for not only communities across the state, but also for attorneys. PBRC does a phenomenal job of training and mentoring lawyers in all phases of their career. As a result, PBRC’s staff and volunteers are able to provide highly effective legal services to individuals who deserve, but cannot afford, such services. PBRC is a champion of pro bono service and has served as a model for other legal service providers. PBRC continues to lead the way with innovative free legal clinics and other programs that are designed to provide equal access to justice.
What developments within PBRC have you found most exciting or promising during your time on the board?
I am always impressed by the quality services PBRC provides and the massive amount of people the organization is able to serve each year. PBRC’s legacy of effectiveness is a byproduct of strategic planning, strong leadership, robust partnerships, and innovation. Most recently, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while institutions and businesses where shut down, PBRC kept its operations going in a safe and responsible manner. PBRC immediately recognized the ripple effects of COVID-19 and its devasting impact on low-income communities. PBRC’s rapid response and innovation speaks to the organization’s solid foundation. I am excited to see the new heights PBRC will reach in its quest to provide equal access to justice.
Why do you, personally, donate to PBRC?
I personally donate simply because I am in a position to do it. Service to others is a core component of my personal value system. Situations and circumstances are fluid, and those that occupy the seat of “giver” and “receiver” change constantly and sometimes unexpectedly. PBRC is an mission worthy organization, that utilizes its resources in a responsible and optimal manner.
As you look at the legal and justice landscape, what do you find exciting or promising?
The subject of diversity, inclusion, and equity have dominated headlines and conversations over the past couple of years. As a result, some institutions and individuals alike are starting to scrutinize and critically question certain policies and practices. While these conversations, specifically as it relates to legal services and the justice system, are not necessarily new, I do think they are being approached through a renewed lens. It is promising that PBRC and others that have been at the forefront of pushing for equal access to justice, will continue to be part of the conversation.
How important do you think pro bono work is to the legal profession?
Pro bono work is incredibly important. It is literally the difference between millions of people who need legal representation, but cannot afford it, having access to justice. Additionally, it helps the courts operate more efficiently and effectively. In Maryland, each year PBRC impacts the lives of thousands of people and saves their clients over a million dollars in cost. Pro bono work to the legal profession is critical.
What message would you give to people thinking about supporting PBRC?
Don’t think about it, just do it! PBRC and your surrounding community is in need for your help. You can support PBRC in a multitude of ways, money, time, expertise, etc., every contribution can make a difference. PBRC is ready and able to meet you where you are. Supporting and working with PBRC is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and your community.
For more information about volunteering in Maryland, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org