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.