Just in the past three years, Mitzi Dailey has taken a staggering 27 cases from MVLS ranging from family law to tax controversy to expungement. In addition to being a tireless volunteer in getting results for her clients, Mitzi has accepted a number of clients with limited English proficiency with ease, despite not speaking the language herself. Mitzi has also stepped up and willingly volunteered to help MVLS clients with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Mitzi’s commitment to pro bono and to assisting vulnerable clients with varied, compounding barriers to accessing legal help makes Mitzi an extremely hard-working volunteer and her nomination as the July 2018 Volunteer of the Month is well-deserved. During our interview, she added that she initially came to MVLS as a young, recently barred attorney in search of a way to build tactical skills to You can read more about Mitzi’s experiences below:
1. Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
Since taking my very first pro bono case in the late 1990s I have always considered it an honor to represent each and every pro bono client. Upon returning to the private practice of law, in the latter part of 2016, (having left private practice many years ago to raise my daughter, who has now graduated from high school), one of my first steps was to reconnect with MVLS, to see how I could once again put my legal skills to work for those clients that were in need.
Being born, raised, educated and worked in Baltimore City my entire life, I believe gives me a unique perspective, as I have interacted with so many great people, with great and sometimes dire legal needs, but perhaps not all of the finances to be able hire an attorney, and thus so desperately need the services of organizations like MVLS.
Thus, I choose to volunteer because with each case I can use my legal and other skills to be part of the solution, and not the problem, and maybe in some small way give back to the community that has given so much to me.
2. Do you have any stand out stories?
I had a MVLS client who was referred to me in the midst of a divorce proceeding, was in dire need of representation, experiencing severe financial, health issues and was unable to work. After the trial, the client was awarded indefinite alimony, a substantial marital asset, which enabled the client to piece together many of the financial troubles and to focus entirely on the health issues. The client was overjoyed with the result, thanking me so many times and I expressed that I was truly the grateful one that I could be of assistance in such a significant and meaningful way.
3. What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?
My favorite part about volunteering with MVLS is being able to see an almost immediate positive impact on someone’s life, sometimes with just a smile or sign of relief from the client when they realize they have an attorney who will advocate for them and they will not have to travel the maze through their legal troubles alone.
4. Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
I believe other attorneys should do pro bono representation because they will gain so much of a sense of accomplishment and see the real positive impact of their profession on those who are sorely in need of their assistance.
5. What has your experience been working with clients who know limited English?
It’s been very interesting. The Language Line resource that MVLS provides has been a great resource. I’ve also found that family members and friends of the client have also been very helpful in the interim if we were in a pinch and I really needed to get some information from them. Even sometimes the client’s children, who might be bilingual though they’re young in age, they’re very helpful because they know their parents’ concerns and can relay information back and forth. These resources from MVLS and help from the client’s family and friends have made working with these clients easier than I thought. It’s been really interesting and very rewarding. The clients are so pleased that someone is out there trying to help them, so they try to help me as much as I can with speaking as much English as they possibly can, so it’s a great opportunity to work together. It’s worked out very well and I have not had any problems whatsoever.