August 2014 Bar Bulletin
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August 2014 Bar Bulletin

Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month

Ian Franzel

By Gwen Remmen


Ian Franzel is an exceptional member of the King County Bar Association's Pro Bono Services (PBS) volunteer team. The Volunteer Legal Services staff proudly recognizes Franzel as the August 2014 Volunteer of the Month.

A dedicated volunteer since 2011, Franzel works with pro bono clients at the Neighborhood Legal Clinics and the Housing Justice Project (HJP). Franzel also provides ongoing representation through the Volunteer Legal Services Program for clients facing eviction subsequent to a show-cause hearing.

He recently represented a former HJP client whose case continued to trial. The elderly client was threatened with immediate eviction and faced homelessness. Franzel negotiated an outstanding settlement that ensured the elderly client would remain in her home until she found a new apartment. Franzel's dedication to volunteerism allows the PBS programs to provide crucial wrap-around legal services for pro bono clients who have nowhere else to turn.

Additionally, Franzel is a contributing writer for the PBS Pro Bono Dicta Blog, a member of the Pro Bono Dicta Committee, and a volunteer outreach coordinator for KCBA's Young Lawyers Division walk-in clinic. His commitment to public service is extraordinary and we are fortunate that Franzel is a member of the PBS team.

I recently spoke with Franzel about volunteerism:

Q: What does pro bono mean to you?

A: It means compassion for and commitment to an indigent client's cause for the sake of evening the playing field.

Q: Who or what inspires you to volunteer?

A: All the excellent local lawyers whom I relate to and admire inspire me, as well as my uncle Jim Franzel, who had many civic-minded accomplishments as a U.S. Forest Service administrator. Concerning the what, I would say the glaring need of the general public in low-income communities in King County; and the disconnect between the protocol of the legal system and the average layperson's ability to gain some command of that protocol.

Q: Do you have an especially memorable volunteer experience?

A: That's a tough question. A hearing that I handled before a local public housing authority is the one. There were major habitability issues, a relocation of the client was needed, but the housing authority pressed for eviction anyway. The client was such a huge character, and with my guidance, provided airtight arguments about the unit's condition leading us to a great result and a powerful resolution.

Q:What drew you the KCBA's pro bono programs?

A: Four years ago, my old boss Jerry Robison, who is a volunteer powerhouse by himself, recommended volunteering with the Neighborhood Legal Clinics. I grew up in the Seattle area, then spent 10 years living in two different east coast states, so coming back to Seattle in 2010, I needed to dive into the local community, which is an enormously diverse and dynamic one.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: A long time ago I committed a James Joyce quote to memory that requires you to keep your actions and endeavors in check with your morals: "I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely and wholly as I can using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use: silence, exile, and cunning."

The King County Bar Association sincerely thanks Ian Franzel for his dedication and hard work on behalf of Pro Bono Services clients.


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