Become a Pro Bono Volunteer

BECOME A PRO BONO VOLUNTEER

If you are interested in volunteering with ALSC, fill out the following application:

Pro Bono Volunteer Form - If you are using Google Chrome, please save the form, and then enter your information so that the application saves properly.  

Return the completed form to Laura Goss by email or by mailing it to the address listed on the application.  If you have any questions about ALSC’s Pro Bono Program or the volunteer sign up process, you can contact Laura by email: lgoss@alsc-law.org or phone: 907-222-4521.

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NOVEMBER VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – PAUL PASLAY

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We are thankful to have Paul Paslay as our November Volunteer of the Month! Paul has volunteered with ALSC for around 16 years and has helped nearly 90 clients pro bono through direct cases and screening consultations! Check out our interview with Paul below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

It was a long time ago, but it has always been my inclination to help others especially if the subject is something I know about.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

Mostly I have done bankruptcies for folks, and I do not hear much follow up after the job is done. I’d like to think that bankruptcy sorted out their lives so that they can live better and be more productive in their community, and without the stress of facing bills they can not pay.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

I have seen the good effects on others to provide service, and the satisfaction it creates for me, and I plan to continue to do that.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I have been an enthusiastic amateur musician over the years. I am also a longtime member of Rotary which shares a “service over self” commitment with ALSC.

OCTOBER VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – SARAH MONKTON

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Sarah Monkton’s dedication and passion for helping each individual client makes her an easy choice for ALSC’s October Volunteer of the Month! Sarah regularly lends her talents to ALSC’s clients and for the Early Resolution Project. Check out our interview with Sarah below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC? 

I hold a strong belief in the importance and value of community service, and in particular in the need for lawyers to offer some of their time to those with limited access to legal assistance. In addition, I knew that my work with ALSC clients would provide valuable professional experience for me in areas of law I am interested in.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

I’ve had the pleasure of helping a family become completed through the adoption of two brothers, assisting a very deserving senior to access much needed pension funds following a default divorce, and drafting simple but essential estate planning documents for military veterans.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future? 

In each case I gained significant practical experience that enriched my legal practice and quite simply made me a more knowledgeable attorney. In addition, working with clients from diverse backgrounds broadens my perspective, allowing me to offer better advice in all my cases. I also find these cases very personally rewarding. While each client has expressed gratitude for my work, I feel grateful for having had the opportunity to work with each one, and to learn from their experiences.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I have two school-age sons who keep me up-to-date on the best knock-knock jokes, and we get outside as much as we can to enjoy Alaska. I also serve as the Vice President of Professional Mediators of Alaska, and we are working to expand the use of mediation as an alternative means of conflict resolution in our state.

SEPTEMBER VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – KRIS COYNE

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Our incredible September Volunteer of the month is Kris Coyne, who currently serves as a civilian attorney for the Army at JBER.  As an ALSC volunteer, Kris lends her unique skill set to clinics specifically for Veterans and to VA Stand Down events. Read on for our interview with Kris about her experiences:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

After I retired from the Navy JAG Corps, I went to work for myself in Arizona doing Family Law.  It was an awakening coming from a place where EVERYONE gets free legal assistance to a place where no one does. There are SO many people truly in need of legal assistance and unable to pay… especially in Family Law.

ALSC offers me the opportunity to help AND the resources to do it. PLUS the opportunity to network with fellow attorneys in invaluable!

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others? 

I have been involved in the free legal clinics for Veterans and I love being able to help a Vet overcome what they have let become an obstacle – to their ability to find a job, make a living, or clear their record - and truly make a difference in their lives. It is heartwarming to see their demeanor change when they realize it wasn’t that hard to overcome after all.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

As I stated previously, ALSC is an amazing place for networking, training, meeting, and making a difference.  I know that all of those things will combine to enrich my education and experience, and will assist me in helping other people in my position at Legal Assistance with the Army.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I am a retired Navy JAG with over 25 years of experience.  I currently work as a civilian attorney for the Army at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. It has been an AMAZING career with the military working with people who are PROUD to be Americans and PROUD to make a difference themselves.

Fun fact - I am proud of my kids! Hannah, UAA Sophomore and Artist! Kelly, Champion Barrel Racer! Timothy, Lego Master and Artist! And Kirsten – Barrel Racer, Basketball Player, and New Cross-Country Skier, extraordinaire.  We have only been in Alaska 18 months, but we LOVE IT!

AUGUST VOLUNTEERS OF THE MONTH – EMILY OBERMILLER AND JACK MCCLELLAND

Emily Obermiller Jack McClelland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month we are celebrating summer interns Emily Obermiller and Jack McClelland as our August Volunteers of the Month! Both Jack and Emily are up-coming 2Ls from the University of Washington School of Law. After attending an information session about ALSC’s Pro Bono Training Academy, both decided to venture up to Anchorage to volunteer their services.

As interns, Jack and Emily have worked on wills for clients out of the BBNA region; conducted research projects and intake for Anchorage attorneys; worked on projects for bush attorneys; worked on the Pro Bono Training Academy Resource Library; and, helped coordinate Pro Bono Training Academy CLEs. Check out our interview with Emily and Jack below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

Emily: I chose to intern with ALSC this summer because I have a strong interest in access to justice, and I wanted to learn more about the unique access to justice issues facing rural Alaskans. I love working in legal aid, with the variety of legal problems that our clients face and the opportunity to solve these problems creatively and collaboratively. Additionally, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend the summer than Alaska, with the long days and great fishing and hiking. I’ve really enjoyed this summer at ALSC.

Jack: Personally, I was attracted to the idea of spending my summer in Alaska. The opportunity for endless days and plenty of hiking was too much to pass up for me. Professionally, I was drawn by the fact that ALSC provides such a wide variety of services. My goal was to see as much of what happens in the legal profession as possible this summer, which has certainly been the case while I’ve been here.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

Emily: One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at ALSC is being able to help Alaska Native clients in rural Alaska with drafting their wills. I also enjoyed being able to bring my Spanish skills to ALSC and conduct intake interviews with our Spanish speaking clients. It’s extremely gratifying to be able to help our clients overcome some of the barriers they face in accessing the justice system.

Jack: I have enjoyed being able to talk to clients while writing their wills. It is a very personal legal service to provide and it is nice to help someone plan for their future in that way. Additionally, it has been a very positive experience being around so many dedicated and helpful lawyers. Despite their busy schedules, everyone was always willing to help me with a problem or project. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to set an example for me as I enter this career.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

Emily: I am excited to take all the skills I’ve learned at ALSC into my future career. ALSC has helped me develop skills for stronger advocacy: research and writing skills, drafting documents like wills and pleading templates, and interviewing clients.

Jack: ALSC has allowed me to play an active role in the organization. I think the hands-on experiences I have received here are preparing me for my career as a lawyer. Beyond just my own work, I have enjoyed seeing what the day to day practices of lawyers are whether it is writing motions, discussing cases with clients, or fighting for them in court. This internship has provided me with insights into the profession as well as many practical skills.

JULY VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – LAURA FOX

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ALSC’s July Volunteer of the Month is Laura Fox! Laura does an amazing job volunteering with ALSC’s Housing Court Justice Project and the Landlord/Tenant Hotline. We can always count on her to produce positive results for our clients! Check out our interview with Laura below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

I appreciate having ways to use my legal training to help people in situations where they would not normally have access to legal advice. ALSC provides volunteer opportunities that work with my schedule and professional responsibilities.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others? 

When staffing the landlord/tenant helpline or volunteering at the housing court I am usually able to answer a person’s legal questions and recommend options for dealing with issues. I hope that the information and advice I provide allows them to better navigate their housing situation and avoid legal problems.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

My regular legal job involves mostly research and writing. Volunteering allows me to work on other skills, like client communication, by talking through legal problems directly with the people involved.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

In my spare time I try to enjoy the beautiful Alaska outdoors as much as I can.

JUNE VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – EVA GARDNER

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Eva Gardner is ALSC’s June Volunteer of the Month! Eva brings an incredible amount of compassion and dedication to her pro bono work, and we are honored to have her as a volunteer! Check out our interview with Eva below:

 Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

It never occurred to me not to volunteer with ALSC! I’ve always been committed to public service, and once I became a lawyer, pro bono legal work just made sense. ALSC is an incredible resource—not only for pro bono cases, but also for mentorship and support. As a (fairly) new lawyer, it’s reassuring to know that ALSC has my back on every case they send my way.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

As an ALSC volunteer, I’ve worked on matters big and small—from filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit to answering questions on the Landlord/Tenant Helpline. While the big issues may seem more important, it’s the small ones that really impress me. The legal system is intimidating for the uninitiated, and it’s remarkable how much peace of mind you can provide to someone in a stressful situation with just five minutes of thoughtful and compassionate explanation.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

ALSC has exposed me to cases, issues, and wonderful clients I never would have encountered in private practice. I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way that have already proven invaluable—such as never underestimate a case, no matter how simple it looks.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I work at Ashburn & Mason, where I focus on civil litigation and appeals. We see a fantastic mix of cases—recently, I even got to enjoy the view from counsel table at the U.S. Supreme Court! Work keeps me pretty busy, but I also find time for community involvement (like serving on the boards of Arctic Entries and the Anchorage Association of Women Lawyers). After hours in the winter, it’s rare to see me without my skis; and whenever I can in the summer, I get out hiking, biking, and running.

MAY VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – HOLLIS FRENCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALSC’s May Volunteer of the Month is Hollis French!  As a volunteer for ALSC’s Housing Court Justice Project, Hollis lends his time and talent to pro se low-income tenants or low-income landlords in Eviction Court.  Check out our interview with Hollis below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

I chose to volunteer with ALSC because of their excellent reputation in the legal community.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

I have come to greatly enjoy volunteering with the Housing Project. Each case, while similar in the basics, offers a glimpse into a very difficult and unique situation. Each case offers the opportunity to mitigate the pain of an eviction through negotiation. And I have found that clients are very grateful for the help they receive. I think any lawyer can gain skills through working in a ‘real time’ clinic like the Housing Project.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I’m like most Alaskans and enjoy the outdoors. I just recently finished a ski traverse of the Chugach Mountains, leaving Eureka on the Glenn Highway and arriving in Valdez a week later. It’s a spectacular trip.

APRIL VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – EVA KHADJINOVA

Eva Khadjinova

Eva Khadjinova is ALSC’s April Volunteer of the Month! Eva is one of our amazing volunteers for the new Housing Court Justice Project. Check out our interview with Eva below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

“The desire to serve public good must necessarily be the craving of one’s soul, the condition precedent to personal happiness.” ~ A.P. Chekhov.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

ALSC’s housing court project is the outstanding example of the organization’s excellence and professionalism. For half a day once a month, I have a chance to meaningfully help a person at the eviction hearing. It is very rewarding to feel the grateful gaze and smile of the person you’ve helped.

How do you think your experiencs with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

ALSC’s volunteers get access to mentoring from the incredibly experienced, talented, and altruistic members of the private bar and ALSC’s staff attorneys. This mentoring fosters professional growth. I am taking this opportunity to publicly thank all of my mentors for their time, guidance, and generosity of spirit.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I serve on the Board of Directors of Bridge Builders, and I am the current president of the Center of Russian American Friendship and Trade (CRAFT). I am bilingual, Russian & English, and I am professionally proficient in Spanish. I have been fortunate to travel the world and love experiencing other cultures. In my spare time, I ski, grow a vegetable garden, bead-weave, write poetry, and perform with the Russian Folk Dancing Group, Sudarushka. I am very grateful to my family whose support allowed me to pursue my professional goals and to achieve excellence in that pursuit.

MARCH VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – DARIO BORGHESAN

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Dario Borghesan is ALSC’s March Volunteer of the Month! Dario provides an array of impactful pro bono services for ALSC clients, including staffing the landlord-tenant hotline. Check out our interview with Dario below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

ALSC offers rewarding pro bono opportunities that are easy to fit into my schedule. I especially like staffing the landlord-tenant hotline, which allows me to advise lots of people about their housing problems in a discrete, two-hour block of time—and I can staff the call from wherever is convenient on that particular day.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

I’m currently representing a battered woman in a divorce and custody action that will sever the ties to her abusive spouse, giving her and her children peace of mind. She’s incredibly grateful, and that’s very rewarding!

How do you think your experiencs with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

My pro bono work is quite different from my regular practice, so I gain a lot of skills I wouldn’t otherwise develop. And it’s helped me build contacts in the legal community through the network of other volunteers and ALSC folks.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

In my free time, I try to ski as much as possible and, bit-by-bit, get my house un-stuck from the 70’s.

FEBRUARY VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – LORI COLBERT

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We are pleased to honor Lori Colbert as our February Volunteer of the Month! Lori is a lifelong Alaskan and current partner at Mendel Colbert & Associates, Inc. As a long-term ALSC volunteer, Lori has continuously shown her committment to helping those in need, and passionately takes on multiple pro bono cases at one time. Check out our interview with Lori below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

I believe that all attorneys should give back. I chose ALSC because it consistent in its efforts to help those who are most in need.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

I have been an ALSC volunteer for almost 20 years. In that time I have had the pleasure to work with people from all over the State of Alaska. I was given the opportunity to help them during a difficult time and help them see a positive outcome. To see the clients come through a divorce, child custody fight or domestic violence situation and see them move forward always brings a smile to my face that I was able to help in the journey.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

My experiences with ALSC keep me grounded in reality. My practice is all family law – primarily high asset divorce cases and/or high conflict custody cases. Working with ALSC reminds me that everyone does not have ready access to the justice system. The little bit I can do to help those without resources will continue to help me keep things in perspective as I help my paying clients.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I love to travel. I am active in the American Bar Association Family Law Section where I currently serve on Council. I will also be one of the Alaska representatives to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

JANUARY VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH – SAMANTHA WEINSTEIN

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Our January Volunteer of the Month is the amazing Samantha Weinstein, who uses her passionate spirit to produce positive outcomes for Alaskans seeking justice!  Check out our interview with Samantha below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

Well, I can’t say I was being completely altruistic – the guidance and advice I’ve received from Holly and Eric in Juneau is invaluable to my new private practice! Volunteering has given me quite a bit of insight to my own work. Beyond this, though, I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to receive some basic legal assistance, and many people cannot afford it. Helping them through ALSC’s programs allows me to work with people who truly need help, and otherwise would not get it.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?

One of the consistent problems I’ve seen when working with ALSC’s pro bono clients is someone being taken advantage of because they want a legal issue to “just go away.” Frequently, this happens because they do not know their rights or know how to fight for them. In this context, I have been lucky enough to see a number of individuals in the community empower themselves with knowledge, and leave with the strength to stand up for themselves. This translates in the long run to a much healthier community.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

I know that even the work I have done over the past few months has noticeably improved thanks to my experiences with ALSC. My volunteer experiences have taught me to be stronger, more compassionate, and more understanding. The list of benefits will only grow from here!

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

After so many great volunteer experiences, I now crave to do more for my community.  I’ve recently applied to be a member of a couple city boards and commissions (voting will be in February 2016!) and I urge other young attorneys, especially those in smaller communities, to do the same.  We bring fresh ideas and can really help shape the community we will inherit.

I’m also an avid jewelry designer (shameless plug: check out Bookie Designs on Etsy) and gym-goer.  The stress of legal work can be overwhelming and neurologically women have a hard time compartmentalizing (this has to do with differences in grey and white matter and densely packed neurons – on the upside, we can form complex connections in thought processing and easily multi-task).  Having a life outside work forces me to stop thinking about my cases, which is an absolute necessity to being happy and healthy.

Check out our 2014 Volunteers of the Month Here!

Check out our 2015 Volunteers of the Month Here!

ALSC Monthly Newsletter Signup:

 

We are thankful to have Paul Paslay as our November Volunteer of the Month! Paul has volunteered with ALSC for around 16 years and has helped nearly 90 clients pro bono through direct cases and screening consultations! Check out our interview with Paul below:

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

 It was a long time ago, but it has always been my inclination to help others especially if the subject is something I know about.

What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others? 

Mostly I have done bankruptcies for folks, and I do not hear much follow up after the job is done.  I’d like to think that bankruptcy sorted out their lives so that they can live better and be more productive in their community, and without the stress of facing bills they can not pay.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

I have seen the good effects on others to provide service, and the satisfaction it creates for me, and I plan to continue to do that.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

I have been an enthusiastic amateur musician over the years.  I am also a longtime member of Rotary which shares a “service over self” commitment with ALSC.