Click here to view our video interview of Zeshan Khan.
Event photos online at www.kcba.org/annualdinner.
June 2017 Bar Bulletin
By Paige Hardy
Zeshan Khan is a volunteer program’s dream; he brings enthusiasm and compassion to his approach to volunteerism all with an effortless, cool factor. If you have any doubts, he proclaims a passion for vintage motorcycles and a garage littered with bike parts and welders for when he spends his spare time doing custom work on bikes that date back to the 1970s.
Khan has been such an asset to the King County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Services that two separate programs wanted to take the time to recognize him with KCBA’s Pro Bono Award.
Since 2010, Khan has been a faithful volunteer with the KCBA Family Law Mentor Program. He has mentored six groups of attorneys, making him one of the most frequent mentors in the history of the program. Kim Todaro, managing attorney for the program, highlights his commitment by saying, “Through his mentoring, he has demonstrated sensitivity to the issues domestic violence survivors face when accessing the legal system. He is also very in tune with the struggles new mentees have in representing their first family law client. He has a fantastic balance of humor and knowledge to make clients and mentees comfortable.”
Khan also contributes time to Volunteer Legal Services’ Make Change! Debt Education Workshop. Khan is one of the crowd favorites as he incorporates a level of approachability when teaching non-attorney community members about debt defense and bankruptcy. He makes complicated topics much more digestible and understandable with an approach highlighting that it is possible to teach legal issues while avoiding legalese and without sounding patronizing.
When asked about what affects his drive to do pro bono work, Khan noted, “Among the things I’ve learned in my meanderings — including plenty of international travel — is that we are about 99.999% the same. We’re all doing the best we can. Recently, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the distinction between being nice and being kind. It’s so easy to be ‘nice’ — that’s just greasing the wheels of everyday social interactions. Even the most caustic lawyer is probably nice in general. But kindness requires empathy. Giving a little time to someone in the dark reminds me of that.”
Attorneys and clients who have had the privilege of working directly with Khan can personally attest to that kindness.
Khan’s private practice is no exception to his outlook. At the Law Office of Zeshan Q. Khan, he focuses on bankruptcy, family law, consumer protection and general civil litigation. When asked why he chose to predominantly practice in bankruptcy and family law, he explained, “I’ve wanted to practice in areas where any random person could ask me a question at a dinner party, so questions that might affect everyday people.”
“Both [bankruptcy and family law] involve creative problem solving,” he continued. “Bankruptcy lawyers generally pride themselves as being deal makers. But what few people get is that good family lawyers are just the same; they understand long-term implications and consequences, and they strive to look after their clients’ ultimate interests, often when the clients don’t know it yet.”
Khan’s keen ability to anticipate the needs of his clients really demonstrates his knowledge of the law, but also highlights an acute understanding of how people work.
The Family Law Mentor Program and Volunteer Legal Services are incredibly grateful to have Khan as a volunteer and hope that this award brings him the recognition from the legal community that he truly deserves.