Christopher R. Rahl has been a committed MVLS volunteer for the past two decades. In celebration of his accepting at least one pro bono case each year for the last 20 years, he will be honored with the 20 Year Award at our annual Celebrate Pro Bono Awards Ceremony in October.
In the past, Chris served on the MVLS Board of Directors and at one time, was even Board President. Today, he still serves on the Fundraising Committee and frequently mentors volunteer attorneys and MVLS staff alike.
Over his time with MVLS, he has accepted 145 cases in a variety of areas including guardianship, name change, deed issues, foreclosure, estate planning, and legal assistance to non-profit organizations. He recently provided a name change training for attorneys on behalf of MVLS. Read on to hear more from Chris about why pro bono matters!
- Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
MVLS clients really need the legal help that volunteers provide and MVLS provides training, mentors, and malpractice insurance.
- Do you have any stand out stories?
I have worked on a number of name changes. Most have been for young children when the child’s mother learns that the father listed on the child’s birth certificate is not the biological father of the child. One older client was in her 50s when her dying father decided to tell her that he was not her biological father. This client was devastated – having grown up and lived for so long with the last name of someone who was not her biological father. She searched for and found her biological father and began to develop a relationship with him. She then desperately wanted to change her last name to her biological father’s last name. She was extremely relieved once the process was complete.
- What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?
The problems faced by MVLS clients are significant hurdles in their lives. If a volunteer can help them navigate the legal system and get the issue resolved, it is very satisfying. Clients are extremely grateful and MVLS makes volunteering easy. MVLS staff does a great job screening applicants and gathering the information and documents needed for volunteers to provide the requested assistance.
- Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
It’s also a great way to do learn something new and do something different from your daily practice, all while helping people in need.