KCBA Pro Bono Services would like to recognize Yasmeen Abdullah as the July volunteer of the month.
Abdullah has been a KCBA volunteer since 2009 and is a current volunteer with our Family Law Mentor Program, Neighborhood Legal Clinics, and the Domestic Violence Impact Project (a partnership with Foster Pepper). Recently, while volunteering with the Family Law Mentor Program, Abdullah took a case to trial representing a domestic-violence survivor.
Kim Todaro, Family Law Mentor Program staff attorney, has high praise for Abdullah, saying she "was very successful at a contested trial, making several nuanced arguments about domestic violence and protecting her client's child." After putting in a lot of volunteer hours, Abdullah successfully challenged a parenting evaluation.
When asked what inspires her to volunteer, Abdullah says, "Every time I volunteer, I meet someone who is grateful for any help that they can get. We all need help sometimes, and the law can be confusing even when you are a lawyer."
We asked Abdullah a few questions about her volunteer experience and her personal life.
Q: What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
A: A recent case through the Family Law Mentor Program has been my most memorable volunteer experience. The case was a marriage dissolution that went to trial. There were allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence against my client, and neglect of the toddler who was the child of both parents.
There were times during trial where I held back the tears while my client testified about the abuse and trying to protect her daughter. We went to trial even though the initial commissioner and social worker in the case did not believe my client. We were able to call witnesses and present evidence to tell the judge the full story.
My client was incredibly brave to persevere and stand up for her child. The protection that my client and her daughter have due to the trial makes the struggle worthwhile.
Q:What did you dream you would do for work when you were little?
A:I thought I was going to be a judge. My childhood and college friends ask, "Are you a judge yet?" One day, I may decide to enter a judge's election, but for now I am focusing on building my own law firm, which I started just last year.
Q: What type of pet do you have?
A: I have two cats and one dog. My cats are both short-hair rescues, and my dog is an Australian shepherd that has a Frisbee addiction.
Q: How do you gain perspective regarding a difficult situation?
A: I tend to worry about things that are beyond my control. When a case or my own life becomes difficult, I just remind myself that I have been through tougher times and I can handle the situation.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I spend as much time as I can with my son Kaspian. He recently turned two years old and our time together is a lot of fun. He has started playing make-believe, such as building trains out of Legos (usually with pretend cat passengers), or pretend cooking or pretend dinosaur fights. I've found being a mother more fun than I thought possible.
Q: If you were not a lawyer, what profession would you choose and why?
A: I would choose to be a writer. I might I have chosen this before, but I was never good enough to make a living.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: The last book I read was Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The Seattle Library has an excellent online library.
Q: To what location in the world would you visit if money were no object?
A: I would love to visit New Zealand again. The last time I visited was in 2005 and I still vividly remember how beautiful the country is.
If you are interested in volunteering with KCBA's Pro Bono Programs, please visit our website to learn more about the available opportunities: www.kcba.org/pbs/volunteers.aspx.
Adelaine Clapp is KCBA's Pro Bono Services Program coordinator.