Evelyn Emanuel is a remarkably dedicated volunteer. The King County Bar Association's Pro Bono Services team honors Emanuel as the September 2014 Volunteer of the Month for her outstanding work with the Kinship Care Solutions Project.
In a case that wrapped up earlier this year, Emanuel represented a grandmother seeking custody of her two young grandchildren. The youngest, an infant, was born with drugs in her system and the hospital contacted Child Protective Services (CPS). Rather than continue the involvement with CPS, Emanuel's client sought help to gain legal custody to protect the children from their parents, who have a long history of drug use and violent behavior.
The client attempted to file the custody case herself, but was unable to navigate the complicated process while caring for the special needs of her grandchildren. Even though Emanuel was new to family law, she took on the challenge, diligently pursued the case and obtained a positive outcome for the client and her grandchildren.
"Thanks to Evelyn, the children now have the safety and stability they need," said Judy Lin, KCBA's senior managing attorney for family law.
Emanuel recently answered some questions for the Bar Bulletin:
Q. Who inspires you to volunteer?
A. I have always volunteered in one way or another. It is just how I was brought up. Now that I am an attorney, I have many new opportunities for volunteering. Currently, I volunteer with the Family Law Mentor Program and the Neighborhood Legal Clinics.
Q. What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
A. One night at the Neighborhood Legal Clinic there was a mix-up with the door key and everyone was locked out of the building. While I was waiting, one of the clients came up and started asking some of her questions. We ended up having a mini-clinic on the sidewalk; she entertained her kids while I read her documents and did legal research on my phone. That was a lot of fun, guerrilla-style legal analysis.
Q. What does pro bono mean to you?
A. Free, not low quality. In the legal clinics, you encounter many people who are trying to navigate the system pro se. I think it is fantastic how non-lawyers can really develop a sophisticated understanding of the law, but a pro bono client needs the same services a paying client would get. If you can't provide that, don't take the client.
Q. What was your childhood dream job?
A. All I remember is that I didn't want to have to wear a suit. So ironic.
Q. Do you have a favorite pet?
A. Well, I have an unfavorite pet. His name is Ed, he is a cat, and if he barfs on my hearing materials again his name is going to be Mr. Hungrypants.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Scan documents.
Q. If you were a superhero, who would you be?
A. Probably Elastigirl, the mom from "The Incredibles." That seems like a super-convenient superpower.
Q. What was your favorite class in law school?
A. Law, Language, and Literature. The class covered a variety of topics, but one thing I really enjoyed was exploring how lawyers are portrayed in literature.
Q. Title of the last book you read?
A. It was law related - Devil in the Grove. It is fantastic; well written and well researched. It covers Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Civil Rights Era. The subject matter was depressing, but the story was intense and compelling. I couldn't put it down.
The King County Bar Association sincerely thanks Emanuel for her enthusiasm and tenacious representation of Pro Bono Services clients.