Celebrate Pro Bono: Patricia “Patti” Lysak

As part of Celebrate Pro Bono 2011, we are highlighting pro bono legal service in South Carolina.

Meet ASHLEY COLE, 3L at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Patti Lysak

Patti is currently serving as co-President of the USC School of Law’s Pro Bono Board, but her interest in pro bono began even before law school.

I’ve always had a strong desire to help others, and getting involved with Pro Bono was the most direct way I felt I could do that while in law school.  Other students spoke highly of the program, so I was excited to be a part of it!

She has been a member of the Pro Bono Board since her 2nd year of law school, but participated in various events as a 1L. 

Her latest project through Pro Bono was helping the South Carolina Journal of International Law & Business participate in a service day at Habitat ReStore.  She is very active in helping to organize the Best Class Food Drive held each semester and have taught CHOICES classes at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.  

What pro bono experience brings her the most joy?

The incoming students service dayIt’s great to see new students helping out in the community, and I love being a part of their experience!  

Any lessons?

Being involved in the program has allowed me to be active in the community and continue helping others.  There is so much need in the world, and locally, that I believe everyone has a duty to help.  Everyone has a skill that is beneficial to others! 

Plus I didn’t realize that so many attorneys are willing to “donate” their time for various causes.  It’s encouraging to know that!

 And she has a great message for law students:

Get involved!!  There is something for everyone, and everyone benefits.  

Patti’s enthusiasm for pro bono is immediately evident and she emphatically notes that she will continue to participate in pro bono projects once she becomes licensed. And I don’t doubt her for one minute!

~RFW

Focus on Pro Bono: Douglas Rushton

Douglas Rushton

Douglas is in his third year at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This semester he notes that his most interesting classes are Appellate Advocacy, Commercial Speech Seminar, and Criminal Practice Clinic, in which he will represent, at a trial in magistrate’s court, a young man who has been accused of criminal domestic violence. He currently serves as the Executive Student Works Editor of the Law Review, and is a member of the Order of the Wig and Robe.

Douglas, what pro bono work are you currently involved in?

I am currently teaching courses for the CHOICES program at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Please tell me more about CHOICES.

The program seeks to give the kids at DJJ a better understanding about the legal system and a bit of practical knowledge of the law.  Most recently, another law student and I taught a course to a group of about ten guys about rules, laws, and values.  The idea was to develop by discussion what a law should do (e.g., protect citizens) and how it should do so (e.g., fairly).

Any surprises?

The most surprising part of the program was the interest and participation we got from the guys in the program.  All of the guys had first hand knowledge of how the criminal justice system worked and had many differing opinions about it.  However, most had not really thought about why the system functions as it does, and its goals.

Do you see a future with pro bono service?

I have truly enjoyed the pro bono work that I have done, and I will continue to stay involved, in one way or another, in public service.  I am pursuing, almost exclusively, jobs in public service. I have enjoyed working as a public defender in my clinic, and hope to continue in that type of work as an actual attorney.

-RFW