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.
The incoming students service day. It’s great to see new students helping out in the community, and I love being a part of their experience!
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!
Right now, I am involved in the CHOICES Program. I first learned about this program after receiving a flier in my mailbox at school. I have not done any other pro bono projects while in law school however I have been greatly satisfied with my decision to do CHOICES.
What lesson have you taken from your pro bono service?
I think the most valuable lesson I have learned is “not to judge a book by its cover.” While this sounds cliché, I think it is the perfect way to describe my participation with CHOICES. Initially, I was a little hesitant about how the juveniles would react to the program. My encounters with the juveniles put my fears to rest. They were a bright group of young men with creative ideas and goals for the future. Not only were they receptive to the program, but they were also a joy to be around and they taught me many things that I did not know.
Has your pro bono service changed your idea of law or pro bono?
Not really. I had always been service oriented and have enjoyed helping others. The one thing that I can say is that I will be more willing to take a chance and volunteer in areas outside of my comfort zone.
Do you see yourself in private practice or public interest?
At this point, I do not plan to go into private practice; I would prefer to work in a public interest setting. If I do end up in private practice, I will definitely volunteer as a pro bono attorney. Through my experiences, I have tried to encourage other law students to participate in pro bono programs. We are all extremely busy but I still think it is important to share my stories and hopefully, others can find time in their schedule to help someone else. It really does offer a nice break from lives as law students and personally, it reminds me of why I decided to attend law school.