May 2019 Volunteer of the Month- Olivia Holcombe-Volke

Olivia Holcombe-Volke began volunteering with MVLS in 2015, and since then has helped 39 clients with 51 legal issues including estate administration and planning, deeds, and tax.

As a partner at Elville and Associates, P.C., Olivia primarily handles all aspects of estate planning including the drafting of wills, trusts, advance directives, and power of attorney documents. She has generously lent her expertise to MVLS by serving as a mentor for estate matters to both MVLS volunteer and staff attorneys and has recently provided two trainings – one on estate planning and one on life estate deeds.

In addition to her already significant contributions to MVLS, Olivia also serves as a founding member of the Community Advocacy Network (CAN), an MVLS program dedicated to inspiring attorneys who are just beginning their careers to get involved in pro bono. Olivia is an instrumental volunteer at MVLS, and we can’t thank her enough for her time and service to our organization.

Olivia shares below in her own words what volunteering means to her.

  • Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?

I choose to volunteer for many reasons, some of which are that I was raised in a family where community service is a fact of life, and not optional; and because there is no intrinsic reason for my privilege, other than luck – and while I can’t share luck with others, I can share time, knowledge, experience, and energy; and finally, because I am personally invested in the Baltimore community, and therefore not only want to see it and its people flourish, but will also personally benefit from its success.

I choose to volunteer with MVLS because it is well organized, offers tremendous support, and provides innovative and perceptive assistance in areas of law in which there is the greatest need.

  • Do you have any stand out stories?

Rather than specific stories, the thing that stands out to me the most is the incredible gratitude and relief expressed by clients, in exchange for work that is often not that challenging. It is amazing how simple it can be to provide a great service to someone, purely because you speak the language and know the applicable documents and available resources. Something that can seem insurmountable to someone can be easily addressed and rectified by someone else, purely because that someone else knows what to do, or how and where to ask for help.

  • What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?

Personal fulfillment, meeting and working with great people, having the opportunity to learn about areas of law with which I am not familiar, being able to complete my annual pro bono report with pride, feeling fully involved and in touch with my community, and personifying the adage that actions speak louder than words – to name a few.

  • Why should other attorneys do pro bono?

See all of the above! And, to make it even easier on attorneys who are inexperienced with doing pro bono work, and/or who are intimidated to start, there is the MVLS CAN (Community Advocacy Network), which is here to help with every step, whether providing an experienced attorney to serve as a mentor, connecting volunteer attorneys with the resources available to address their particular pro bono client matter, providing free trainings on a variety of legal issues, and much more. There is no time like the present to start! The amount of time and effort, in the grand scheme, is minimal – and the rewards are immeasurable.