April 2014 Bar Bulletin
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April 2014 Bar Bulletin

Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month

Susan Camicia

By Gwen Remmen

 

Susan Camicia is simply extra-ordinary.

She began volunteering weekly as the administrative coordinator for the Neighborhood Legal Clinics (NLC) Country Doctor Clinic in 2004. Camicia is a pleasure to work with; she is detail oriented and always proactive. She coordinates quarterly volunteer schedules, works on special projects and does an excellent job communicating with NLC staff.

Camicia also volunteers for the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Peer Mentor Program at Harborview Medical Center, working with quadriplegic patients who need someone to listen and understand the problems they face. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management and a certification in project management. She has worked in the legal field since 1986.

KCBA Pro Bono Services sincerely thanks Camicia for her generosity and dedication to NLC clients, fellow volunteers and the staff at the King County Bar Association.

Camicia recently answered some questions for the KCBA Bar Bulletin:

Q. How did you become interested in the SCI program at Harborview?

A. I am a quadriplegic due to a bicycle accident in 2006. I hit a bollard, flipped over my handlebars and broke my neck. Thankfully, I have amazing family and friends. I work for a law firm who has supported me in ways I never thought possible.

Before my accident, I was an avid cyclist. I rode my bike around the South Island of New Zealand. I also rode my bike from Seattle to San Francisco. Now, I like to bi-ski and swim.

The SCI Peer Mentor Program operates through the Harborview and University of Washington medical centers for newly injured spinal cord injury patients. I am one of the volunteer mentors available if a newly injured quadriplegic/SCI patient wants to talk to someone. I remember how much it meant to me when I was newly injured. I show them that life is still possible, share tricks and advice. It's a really great feeling!

Q. What originally drew you to the Neighborhood Legal Clinics?

A. I was very interested in volunteering. Michelle Buhler, a partner at Calfo Harrigan Leyh & Eakes, volunteered our firm for the NLC position and I welcomed the opportunity to assume the role.

Q. What does pro bono mean to you?

A. Being able to contribute my time to those in need, and working with other volunteers. The first volunteer experience I remember was feeding homeless men at a local shelter. I remember how great I felt afterwards. That sparked my interest. I have found that I leave my volunteer experience feeling energized.

Q.Do you have a favorite volunteer experience?

A. My most memorable experience was being able to nominate a fellow clinic volunteer for the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. My job is to make sure volunteers show up for their shift and find coverage if they can't make it.

This particular volunteer is often the first volunteer to fill in for those who have a last-minute conflict, allowing the clinic to go forward with scheduled appointments. It felt great to recognize someone else for their contribution to the legal community.

Q. Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A. Washington Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens.

Q. What is your must-have office supply?

A. Dragon NaturallySpeaking (computer software that turns talk into text).

Q. Any words of advice for prospective volunteers?

A. Volunteer. It feels great!

 

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