We’re proud to recognize Gretchen Reimert as the October 2021 Volunteer of the Month. Read on to learn more about Gretchen and her experience as an MVLS volunteer.
Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
My entire legal career has been spent in public service. I previously worked in legal services and MVLS has an excellent reputation for supporting their volunteer attorneys with high quality mentoring and training, while also making it as easy as possible for attorneys to volunteer in ways that suit them best.
Do you have any stand out stories?
I recently helped a survivor of domestic violence with traumatic brain injury avoid foreclosure and get a fresh start. She was remarkably capable and able to do a lot on her own but she needed someone with legal knowledge to help her successfully navigate the process with the courts, especially when things turned upside down during the pandemic. She also needed help corresponding with agencies who could help her obtain new housing. She now has a new home for her and her very young children where they are safe and able to start a new life.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?
MVLS has a strong intake process, where clients are fully vetted to ensure that they are eligible, and cases are farmed out to attorneys based on their expertise. I specialize in foreclosure defense, but a client in foreclosure may have other legal needs (like the need to open and administer an estate) that are beyond my immediate ability to provide. MVLS does their best to help attorneys collaborate across different specialties so that volunteer attorneys don’t get overwhelmed. This is especially important for solos and small firms who want to volunteer but are reticient to get involved with complex cases that have with a number of legal issues.
Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
Everyone benefits when we each contribute what we can to the greater good. New attorneys can gain confidence and valuable skills through the mentoring offered by MVLS, and seasoned attorneys can help bring along the next generation of attorneys in ways that have an immediate impact on disenfranchised communities. MVLS structures volunteer opportunities so that any attorney can choose to do as little or as much as they are able, whenever they are inspired to do. It’s a win-win for the attorney and the community as a whole.