Volunteerism – Good for the Soul and the Pocketbook

How often during one’s legal career can one point to service, not compensation or compulsion, as the principal motivation for one’s legal work? This is what Pro Bono legal work offers. You may perhaps represent a particular person. You may possibly advocate on behalf of a particular cause. But above all, you serve: you serve the public interest; you serve the judicial system.

Hon. John H. Sugiyama
Judge of the Superior Court
Probate Division

In this last issue of 2018, we celebrate and recognize those who give of their time and talent to help those in need in our community. There are not enough pages in any magazine to do justice to the work of all of our local lawyers, judges, law students and public employees who give freely of their precious free time to help those in need through the organizations who provide these services. Indeed, the sizeable Pro Bono effort in Contra Costa County has many faces but we wanted to show you some of those faces in this season of giving and Thanksgiving.

Our issue features four lawyers who give their time and their talent to organizations dedicated to providing access to justice to those who cannot afford a lawyer. They do this through those organizations but also through their work for the court’s volunteer programs to help bridge the ever-widening gap between waning court funding and the needs of a growing population. We also recognize one judge of our court and his staff (although we could have chosen many more) whose tireless commitment to providing justice, tempered with a measure of forgiveness and understanding, to the homeless in our community. One law student shares his experience as a volunteering for CCCBA’s Lawyer Referral Service while pursuing his legal education at JFK University.  We recognize the public employees in the District Attorney’s office for their work to help those who served our country get the help they need to integrate back into the community for whom they fought. Finally, we bring you a glimpse of the view from the side of some of the people in need of help and what that help meant to them.

The people whose names appear in the articles that follow do not seek recognition; often, they avoid it. Their names come to us from others who author the articles on their behalf and in recognition of their service. If you are one of the subjects of the articles in this issue, you have the author and the organization that they serve to thank for that. If you already give of your time and talent as part of the Pro Bono effort, we thank you. If you do not, perhaps the stories of service, commitment and dedication that follow will inspire you to make a New Year’s Resolution to become one of the many faces of Pro Bono in 2019 and beyond.