The King County Bar Association proudly recognizes Anita Brewer as the November 2014 Pro Bono Services Volunteer of the Month for her dedicated work as a volunteer legal assistant at the Housing Justice Project-Kent (HJP). She regularly goes beyond the call of duty, always ensuring that clients and volunteer attorneys receive the assistance they need.
Brewer, a long-serving community volunteer, joined the HJP team in 2012 as a student intern while studying for her paralegal certificate at Highline College. She conducts client intake interviews, gathers pertinent documentation and synthesizes each case for HJP volunteer attorneys.
Brewer does not just go through the motions of being a legal assistant; she demonstrates a genuine interest in the law. She seeks out opportunities to assist volunteer attorneys and often stays past her volunteer time to ensure that cases are completed and court documents are filed.
"Anita is a valuable asset to HJP-Kent," said Harry Higgins, HJP-Kent program coordinator. "She is always personable and respectful with clients and fellow volunteers. She is extremely organized, efficient and detail oriented. I count on her to train and mentor our legal assistants and she frequently assists with clinic supervision."
We recently asked Anita some questions about her professional and personal life.
Q. What inspires you to volunteer?
A. I enjoy the interaction with clients, HJP staff and fellow volunteers, and knowing that in some small way I have been a help to someone. Plus, I'm still learning and getting experience. It's a win-win.
Q. What does pro bono mean to you?
A. The literal meaning is for the public good, but I think it is important for everyone to have access to justice; it should not be just for those who can afford it. I believe those of us who have had advantages have an obligation to give back. It has been an eye-opener to see how many people facing eviction aren't sure where to turn for assistance or how to navigate the legal system.
Q. If you were not a paralegal, what profession would you choose?
A. If I chose something else, I would probably be teaching. I have always loved learning and would like to inspire kids to love learning, too.
Q. Do you have any words of advice for fellow volunteers?
A. Be patient and be courteous, even if the client is not likeable. Get the information you need politely and quickly. Let clients know that legal assistants cannot give legal advice and that they will have plenty of time to meet with an attorney.
Q. Favorite quote?
A. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Q. If you were a superhero, who would you be?
A. That's kind of difficult because I'm not into superheroes and comics much. Maybe Catwoman; she's lithe, strong and fierce.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I love gardening, singing, long-distance cycling and playing with Cally, my cat.
Q. What was your favorite paralegal class at Highline?
A. My favorite class in the paralegal program was Constitutional Law. Loved the professor.
The King County Bar Association's Pro Bono Services sincerely thanks Anita Brewer for her generosity and dedication to our Housing Justice Project-Kent clients, volunteers and staff.