Volunteer Profile: Sue Atkins, Esq.


What brought you to begin and continue to build your legal career in Maryland? Can you tell me a little about your private practice?

I’m from Baltimore and returned to Maryland after attending law school in California. I work as an attorney for the Social Security Administration. It’s been very important to me to have a job that allows me the flexibility to also do pro bono work.

Which of PBRC’s projects do you volunteer with, and how did you get involved? 

I volunteer with MILAP, providing brief legal advice in the Baltimore immigration court to clients regarding their deportation proceedings. I became interested in this work when I became aware of how the prior administration was handling a surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the border with Mexico. When I watched the news, I thought of my own young daughters and imagined how terrifying and confusing it must be for those kids. I wanted to help in any small way I could and began taking private Spanish classes and volunteering with MILAP in early 2020 at the Baltimore immigration court.

What do you find interesting about this work?

I find the work extremely interesting and rewarding. I love helping the clients navigate a very complicated process and giving them the knowledge and the tools to take the next necessary steps in their cases. I enjoy working with clients of all ages, but particularly enjoy helping children. I’m constantly amazed at the bravery and resilience of the children I meet, and the determination of their parents and guardians to begin a new life.

How does the project make it easy to volunteer?

I love MILAP because it is extremely flexible and easy to volunteer. Because I am an employee for the government, I am limited in the type of pro bono work I can do. Since MILAP provides brief legal advice and I do not enter an appearance for clients, it’s the perfect fit for my availability.

How has doing pro bono work changed you?

Volunteering with MILAP has been a very powerful experience. After studying for a couple of years, I am now able to work directly with the Spanish speaking clients without an interpreter, which was a big personal achievement. I feel a huge sense of satisfaction when I can end a meeting with a client and see that my advice has empowered them to continue with their case with confidence and knowledge.

What message would you give to attorneys thinking about volunteering?

I would encourage other lawyers to volunteer with MILAP as well. Cate and her team will provide you with all the legal knowledge you need, and make sure you are providing the best legal advice to each client. You do not need any experience with immigration law to volunteer. The team is extremely welcoming, and they appreciate their volunteers so much! It’s such a privilege to be able to work with MILAP.


For more information about volunteering in Maryland, please contact: education@probonomd.org

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