By Cynthia B. Jones
Congratulations to Michelle Chan who is KCBA's July Volunteer of the Month. Chan is a newly admitted attorney and has graciously been volunteering with the Self Help Plus Family Law Program in the KCBA office two days per week for almost a year.
"Her dedication to our clients has been insurmountable and she has a natural ability to help put our clients at ease and make them feel comfortable and respected," said Tanya Wanchena, SHP program manager. "Working with clients who face challenges maneuvering the legal system can be a difficult job, but Michelle has the ability to make it look so easy."
Chan has been an incredible asset to the SHP Program, Wanchena said: "I am truly grateful for her hard work and commitment to helping our clients."
Read on to learn a little more about our dedicated volunteer of the month.
Q. What originally drew you to the SHP clinic?
A. I applied to volunteer for the Self Help Plus and Volunteer Legal Services programs because I was interested in being exposed to a variety of legal areas that affect low-income individuals in my local community. My involvement in these programs definitely accomplished this. My volunteer work has taught me a lot about the various legal issues and challenges our pro bono clients face.
Q. How will your experience with the Pro Bono Clinics help others?
A. My work with the KCBA's pro bono program has made me sensitive to the challenges many people face when trying to navigate our legal system. As a result, I am encouraged to continue volunteering for and supporting pro bono programs. People come to our programs because they are going through something significant and don't have the financial resources to obtain assistance. That is where pro bono programs and volunteers come in - they offer hope and help to those who really need it.
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Q. What is your best skill?
A. My tenacity - I just don't have it in me to give up.
Q. What inspires you?
A. I am inspired by people who passionately stand up for ideas they believe in and people who show compassion to strangers.
Q. What inspires you to volunteer?
A. I feel extremely privileged to have my legal education and training, and volunteering through the KCBA's pro bono programs gives me the opportunity to use my education and training to benefit others.
Q. What is your favorite comfort food?
A. A Starbucks pumpkin latte. It tastes great and keeps me awake!
Q. Favorite law-related movie?
A. "My Cousin Vinny." I love this movie's depiction of courtroom procedure and strategy, and somehow it manages to simultaneously pull off being hilarious.
Q. What do you love most about being a lawyer?
A. As a lawyer I am in a position to help people who really need help. As a kid, my goal was to be someone who made a positive impact on society and my legal background opens up many opportunities to help others.
Q. What is your favorite thing about volunteering?
A. The best part of volunteering is direct client interaction. Getting to know the clients and the circumstances that led them to needing pro bono assistance makes the achievement of positive outcomes in their cases so much more satisfying because you can really see the impact it makes in their lives.
Cynthia Jones is an attorney with Jones Legal Group, LLC, in Seattle where her practice focus is appellate advocacy. She can be reached at email@example.com.