March 2, 2020
Attorney spotlight: Whitney Seals
Whitney Seals has defended multiple VLB clients in consumer cases.
When attorney volunteer Whitney Seals (Cochrun & Seals) met VLB client Joe Avery*, Avery was facing a lawsuit from a creditor alleging he owed them almost $14,000. The client was on disability and had no means to pay. Seals—who has built an impressive record defending consumer rights throughout his career—readily accepted the case, which went to court in February. 

“The (lender) called to ask about a settlement,” Seals recalls. “I told them my client was unable to pay anything, so we would take our chances.” 
The lender alleged Avery had opened an account in 1995 but presented only two years' worth of statements, none of which showed clear evidence of how the client had incurred the debt. The judge ruled in favor of the defendant.
Seals estimates he and his firm have taken between 20 and 30 cases defending clients in consumer cases for VLB and never lost a single one. 

He says his passion for pro bono work stems in part from having grown up with a single mother who fought hard to support her young family.
"If I can relieve a single parent, a disabled person, or whomever it is, from living under a huge burden of debt, it's freeing for them."
“She had issues with debt collectors through no fault of her own. I remember watching how much she struggled and how much the people in my neighborhood struggled, so I’m happy to give back to these folks.

“What I like about Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham,” Seals adds, “is the clients are concerned enough to show up. If a person can’t afford a lawyer, they still deserve good representation. If I can relieve a single parent, a disabled person, or whomever it is, from living under a huge burden of debt, it’s freeing for them. I love being able to do that.” 
*Name changed to protect client privacy
VLB offers attorney volunteer training
VLB staff members present a lively, fast-paced volunteer training session for attorneys from Protective Life and Maynard.
Do you want to offer your services as an attorney volunteer for VLB but don't feel prepared? Have you volunteered in the past and want a refresher course—or want to get new associates at your firm involved?

VLB offers on-site training for attorney volunteers in order to create positive and rewarding volunteer experiences. Training sessions engage volunteers and potential volunteers in lively discussion about the who, what, when, where, and why of serving at VLB Help Desks. Let us host training at your firm next! We also offer training for solo practitioners and small firms. Contact Graham Hewitt to schedule.
Retiring? Keep your bar membership!
If you’re retiring from regular practice but want to continue offering your services through pro bono work, the Alabama State Bar offers a special membership at half the cost of an occupational license. Click here for details. Don’t let your hard-earned expertise go to waste! 

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