Volunteer of the Month | Thomas Mulinazzi

Thomas Mulinazzi

We’re proud to recognize Thomas Mulinazzi, as the Volunteer of the Month. Read on to learn more about Thomas and his experience as an MVLS volunteer. 

Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS? 
To help. Period. We are all very lucky to have the ability/education/training to help others. I feel I am wasting my talents if I am not helping people who need it most and there is no better agency to partner with to do that than MVLS. The staff does a great job with the clients prepping them. They are friendly, helpful, very appreciative (which is ironic because we should be (and I am) so appreciate of them, and they always support us.

Are there any recent cases that you’re proud of? Tell us more about what happened, or about what you learned.  
A recent case that I am proud involves a young wife and mother who was already involved in an active case.  She was being pushed around by her spouse who was represented.  She didn’t speak English well, she had nothing, she wasn’t working, and yet husband’s attorney was pressing her for discovery filing Motions and even served her with Admissions – all in an effort to divest of ownership of the family home (in his name) and her share of his 401k, etc. The client was also a domestic violence victim, and I couldn’t let her be victimized more by a system that she did not understand. So, we got into the case right after the PL, worked hard to clean up the discovery mess, fought to enforce the PL support order (the husband was ignoring it), fought to get her a final custody order, then worked on getting her the marital share of the property. Once our client started to get child support and alimony, she was able to get a part-time job and an apartment. She began to find her identity again. 

Then our Office won a few Motions which resulted in an attorney fee award and the other side was forced to deal with our client and our office on equal terms. We compelled them to produce information and compelled them to settle giving our client ½ of the 401k and ½ of the house equity – both were items that the husband insisted were his sole property; and before she met us, she believed that too.  Now she bought a reliable car and has a small savings account and a real path forward to get a certification program where she can earn a good living doing what she wants to do. At the end of the case, she wrote me a note that I display prominently in my Office, “Gracias, Estoy muy feliz con usted por su trabajo. 😊” it’s short and simple but that’s the beauty of it.

How does volunteering with MVLS impact you (personally, professionally, or both)?  
Volunteering with MVLS gives me a sense of pride that I am a lawyer because I am using my skill for something important.

What would you say to others who are considering volunteering with or supporting MVLS?   
There is no greater satisfaction than helping someone who truly needs you.  Besides, if you are not helping people who could not otherwise afford your services you are wasting your talent and you are wasting your gift.

How would you explain the impact of your pro bono work to someone who isn’t familiar with MVLS? 
See above.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 
I really appreciate that MVLS helps me to be part of the change they are making in our community. Thank you to MVLS.