PLC celebrates you this Pro Bono Week
Please join Public Law Center in applauding our volunteers for justice during this national celebration of pro bono. Below we showcase the incredible difference pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to the Orange County community, and most of all, to our clients. Thank you for being a volunteer for justice!
“The pro bono cases we take with PLC have made a difference in the lives of our clients and in ours. One of my most memorable experiences, wasn’t even the most time consuming or even legally challenging matter; but it was life changing for a single mother and her two children. And she never let me forget it. Every holiday they would call me, check in with me, let me know what was going on in their lives, and thank me profusely for the work I had done for them. The kids would even drop off art work for me. That experience has made a difference in my life as much as I may have made in theirs.”

Deb Mallgrave, PLC President & Greenberg Gross LLP Partner
“My first case for PLC was an immigration case. I was representing a gentleman from Central America who was being persecuted on the basis of his sexual orientation. He made his way to the United States to seek asylum. I worked with him to ensure he was able to stay in the United States and to be safe. What was remarkable, other than the obvious—which is the great result for him and his life in that case—was the support PLC gave me and the associate working with me on this case. I don’t have an immigration law background and don’t really know a lot about what to do with an immigration case, but the PLC staff gave us all the support we needed to properly and well represent this gentleman, who is now living here safely in the United States.”

Karla Kraft, Volunteers for Justice Co-Chair & Stradling Shareholder

“One of my first pro bono cases was representing an individual who had AIDS in the 1990’s. He was sued by a life insurance company seeking to revoke a life insurance policy he had purchased a few years before with his parents as the beneficiaries. Fortunately, we were able to prevail on summary judgment and later at the Fourth District Court of Appeal, obtaining an award of the policy proceeds with interest. Arguing summary judgment and the appeal was a great experience for a young lawyer. Unfortunately, my client had passed away while the appeal was pending. His parents were terribly grateful, however, for the services we were able to provide and the comfort their son’s policy proceeds provided them as well.”

Chris McGrath, Volunteers for Justice Co-Chair & Paul Hastings Partner
”My very first interaction with a client as a 1L was thanks to PLC. At that time, the best I could be was a good listener. The gratefulness I could feel from the client, just from that first intake interview, impressed upon me how profound and impactful our role is as advocate. Thank you for this, PLC!”

Christina Zabat-Fran, PLC Board Member & St. John Knits Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (pictured with UCI Law Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning Carrie Hempel)
”I remember my very first case. It was a uncontested guardianship case for a grandmother and her two grandchildren I took on as a first year associate. The family were the nicest people and the kids were so excited the day of the hearing. I could tell the judge was elated to be able to enter their guardianship orders. It was still one of the best and most positive days I've ever had in court.”

Kris Wood, Orrick Senior Associate
”My most memorable pro bono case was with Aaron Malo and Leigh Ferrin wherein we represented a veteran against a senior living facility which attempted to improperly kick our client out of his home. We ended up resolving the dispute in a mediation that lasted until 2am.“

Jacqueline Luther, Sheppard Mullin Partner
”As a new attorney, my first pro bono client was a referral from PLC: an elementary-school-aged child with AIDS whose teachers were not keeping his condition confidential, in violation of the law. He needed an attorney to attend meetings with him to seek compliance. Later that year, I served as a volunteer at a summer camp for kids with severe medical needs and he was there (!!) telling the other kids—“see that lady? she’s my lawyer!” I will never forget that warm feeling of being able to amplify someone’s voice.

Gialisa Gaffaney, Orange County Lawyer Editor-in-Chief
“The attorneys at PLC helped us obtain a U Visa on behalf of a client who was a sexual and domestic abuse victim -- which occurred when he was only 8 years old. It was a complex case due to the fact that most of the records were sealed. As important as combating sexual and domestic abuse is to me, I had NO background on how to handle it. But Leigh and others at PLC really helped me become an effective advocate for the client, with whom we are still in close touch. I am so grateful to the PLC attorneys for helping me make a concrete and immediate difference in the client's life, and his family's!”

Hana Oh, O’Melveny Counsel 
“PLC allowed me to get jury trial experience last year and after a nine day jury trial, we received a verdict of over $3 million for a disabled adult after his sister and brother-in-law stole money from him and abused him.

Katie Beaudin, Stradling Associate
“The Domestic Violence clinics that I've been a part of with PLC have been really rich and rewarding. Though I didn't spend too much time with any one client, looking back at the wide impact I made over a day of helping people is always special.”

Remy Lamons, Latham & Watkins Associate