At LAFLA, we aim to make the pro bono experience as meaningful as possible, both for the clients served and for the volunteers. Pro bono attorneys help us extend our reach, while also learning about poverty law and refining their own practice.
Through the LA Incubator Consortium (LAIC), new solo practitioners receive legal training, mentorship, and other support to launch their own practice—as part of the program, participants also perform pro bono service for legal aid organizations, such as LAFLA. That’s how Bisou Le first encountered LAFLA in early 2018. Since graduating from LAIC, Bisou continues to volunteer regularly at LAFLA’s community clinics.
“I feel like I’ve worked really hard for a specific skill set [as an attorney] and I really want to be able to use that to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Bisou. “I’ve always done volunteering throughout my life, even before I became an attorney. Now, I can give back in a way that’s more beneficial than I’ve done before.”
In addition to many projects that support the community, LAFLA helps individuals with prior criminal convictions expunge their records—and expand their opportunities for employment, housing, and more. Bisou was especially drawn to this type of work, and today volunteers at LAFLA’s clinics that offer this service.
“It’s always nice when I see some of the clients I’ve helped before—some of them have a lot of work that needs to be done, so I see them come back from time to time,” explained Bisou. “It’s always nice when they remember me; they’re always friendly, give me a hug, and ask about me. I’ve had other clients that I see after a long period of time; and things I’ve worked on for them were granted, and they were very grateful. Those are always great moments.”
Bisou also cites the quality of LAFLA’s pro bono offerings as a reason she stays involved: “LAFLA’s clinics are well-organized and well-attended. I feel like when I serve at LAFLA, I’m really making a difference. I want to make the most impact with the time I have. Anytime I go to a LAFLA clinic, I’m always serving clients and helping people on a greater scale.”
LAFLA is very thankful for Bisou and her contributions to the numerous individuals she has served in the community—as well as our new volunteers, many of whom she mentors: “LAFLA is so grateful to Bisou and the many other incubator attorneys from the LA Incubator Consortium who have provided countless pro bono services to the communities that we serve,” said LAFLA Senior Paralegal Rene Pena, who oversees our expungement clinics.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering for LAFLA, please see our website or fill out a volunteer application.