Meet Our Volunteers

John D. McGrane (Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

John D McGrane AR

"In 2013, the Probate Resource Center staff approached Morgan Lewis about supporting one of its weekly walk-in sessions," says John D. McGrane, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. "[The firm] readily agreed to staff one session a month with 3-4 attorneys, and shortly thereafter, I got involved. I continue to help staff the weekly sessions 4-5 times a year."

What keeps bringing John back to the Probate Resource Center? "The experience is very rewarding," he says. "Those coming for help have a wide variety of situations and needs. I have worked with people whose parent or sibling has recently passed away, and at this difficult time they are trying to determine how to deal with homes, bank accounts, and other assets, along with various creditors and on occasion, other relatives. In every case, there is a real need for resolution of the issues. And, most rewarding is the sincere appreciation from the customers for the help provided by the Probate Resource Center -- for making sense out of a confusing process."

Annette K. Kwok (Associate, Venable LLP)

Annette Kwok AR

"Volunteering as a pro bono attorney at the Immigration Legal Advice & Referral Clinic has been incredibly rewarding," says Annette K. Kwok, an associate at Venable LLP and past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area, Inc. (APABA-DC).

Annette has volunteered at the clinic with APABA-DC for nine years. "I'm an immigrant myself and, first and foremost, I feel very connected with the District's immigrant community," she says. "The ability to impart my experience in my interactions with clients is what makes pro bono meaningful. Sometimes, working at a big law firm, you forget what it's like for people desperately in need of legal help. And clients with immigration concerns especially, are scared right now and skeptical about coming forth and exposing themselves."

What does Annette suggest to D.C. Bar members considering pro bono service? "As lawyers, we have to do our best to help our community. Pro bono work inspires me to be more compassionate and grateful for what I have and motivates me to do more for those who are less fortunate."

Read more about Annette's pro bono experience in the November issue of Washington Lawyer magazine.

Rebecca J. Michael (Counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP)

Rebecca J. Michael

"Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP has had a long relationship with the Landlord Tenant Resource Center," says Rebecca J. Michael, counsel at the firm and a dedicated volunteer with the Resource Center. "After attending a training session, I knew I wanted to participate."

"The volunteer work at the Landlord Tenant Resource Center helps transform the lives of its customers," she says. "Many of the Resource Center's customers are facing dire circumstances, and they really need someone to listen and help them understand and navigate the rules, regulations, and requirements [of Landlord Tenant Court]. I have helped draft documents that have halted a wrongful eviction and imminent homelessness of a tenant; allowed a disabled veteran to stay off the street; and enabled a young, single mother to tuck her kids in bed at home for another night. I have also helped draft documents to expedite securing working heat, air conditioning, plumbing, and appliances for some of the most vulnerable citizens in D.C."

Rebecca highly recommends that attorneys get involved in pro bono work: "It is a great way to make a difference in someone else's life on important issues and has tremendous personal, professional, and social benefits for attorneys, too. It is especially easy and rewarding for attorneys to volunteer at the Landlord Tenant Resource Center. No experience is necessary, the support network is unparalleled, the time commitment is fixed, and all your work is completed before you leave at the end of your day there."