By Cynthia B. Jones
This month, KCBA recognizes Adria Vondra, who has been an active volunteer with the KCBA Family Law Mentor Program since 2009. Over the past three years, Vondra has provided direct representation to five program clients in cases involving domestic violence and children at risk.
"Adria has been a fantastic volunteer. I appreciate her willingness to continue to take on contested, difficult family law cases, and I know clients feel validated and comfortable when working with her because she demonstrates an understanding of the issues surrounding domestic violence," said Kimberly Todaro, managing attorney for KCBA's Family Law Mentor Program.
"In addition, Adria has volunteered for the Kinship Care Solutions Project and has completed one case and is working on a second. What is most remarkable is that Adria is still willing to take on yet another family law pro bono client."
Read on to learn more about this dedicated volunteer, mother and wife, including what pro bono work means to her and what childhood dreams she left behind to become an attorney.
Q. What does the Family Law Mentor Program mean to you?
A. The program gives me the opportunity to really go deep into a single case and help that individual from beginning to end. I am able to build a relationship with that client and really am able to advocate for their needs in the legal system. This is especially important since many of the clients are domestic violence victims and really need someone by their side to navigate the process. It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I'm really able to help someone with something that will affect their entire life.
Q. What keeps you motivated to keep volunteering?
A. I just honestly love being able to help people and provide answers to people that cannot afford to get them otherwise. Accessing legal services is extremely difficult, not just for low-income clients, but even middle-income, and the pro bono programs provide a way for those people to get the help they need in an environment that is safe and welcoming.
Q. What did you dream you would do for work when you were little?
A. I always believed that I would be a famous actress. I had scores of posters of all my favorite actors and actresses lining my bedroom growing up.
Q. When did your dream change?
A. My dream came crashing down in sixth grade when I tried out for the play, "Oliver." I didn't even get offered any part in the play - well, until my mom called and complained that everyone else was offered a part and then I became a town person. But that pretty much put an end to my Hollywood dreams.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I am an avid runner and I also do cross-fit several times per week. I also love just relaxing at the beach with family (husband and three boys, ages 10, 9 and 6).
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Q. What is one thing you would like to do over?
A. Honestly, I would like to do law school over. I had all three of my children in law school and I feel like it was a blur. I didn't have a chance to really get involved in any activities outside of just going to class. Although I do love my practice areas now, I didn't spend enough time in school figuring out what I wanted to do when I finished.
Q. Favorite law-related movie?
A. Hate to say it, but I love "Legally Blonde."
Q. Where would you travel if money were no object?
A. Well, I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit when I was younger, but I would love to visit Australia.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you face when volunteering?
A. By far, the biggest challenge is not being able to help enough or to take on a case. I try to do what I can to help after I see a client, but it's impossible to take on every client that I see and that can be frustrating.
Cynthia Jones is an attorney with Jones Legal Group, LLC, in Seattle where her practice focus is appellate advocacy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.