Jennifer Lubinski from the Heyman Law Firm was selected as our September Volunteer of the Month in recognition of the past 18 years she has spent volunteering with MVLS to help the people who need it most. She has taken 48 cases in family, housing, tort defense, and consumer law. She’s an incredibly skilled and thoughtful trial attorney who is always willing to jump in and help out at a moment’s notice. She has also assisted MVLS by providing training and mentorship for attorneys on the intersection of family law and bankruptcy. We’re very lucky to have amazing volunteers like Jennifer on our panel.
1. Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
I began volunteering with MVLS soon after I was admitted to the bar twenty years ago. I wanted to learn family law and MVLS offered a training. I have continued volunteering for many reasons. One of them is the opportunity, when my practice has often been agency or business litigation focused, to work with individuals rather than committees to solve human rather than economic problems.
2. Do you have any stand out stories?
I once represented a man who had quit-claimed his share of the home he owned with his wife to the wife so she could apply for a reverse mortgage. Of course she then filed for divorce and claimed that the house was non-marital. I won a judgment at trial, which was not paid. Then I won at a contempt hearing. On the day that exceptions were to be argued, the wife filed for bankruptcy. So I filed an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court, which I won. An appeal was filed to the Fourth Circuit which we also won. That case took a little longer to resolve than I had expected when I took it on, but the client was very grateful.
3. What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?
I have saved every thank you note I have ever received from a pro bono client. They mean more to me than they possibly realize.
4. Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
As a society we don’t expect lower income people to figure out how to perform surgery on themselves. I don’t think we should be expecting them to figure out how to handle a legal matter either. Our family law magistrates and judges do a wonderful job every day of making the system as accessible as possible to pro se litigants but there are limits, and there are often children involved in these cases. Their rights are not adequately represented unless their parents are.