An interview with Kathleen Koch, a former Bay Area Legal Services Board member, and volunteer and donor since 1985.
How did you first get involved with Bay Area Legal?
Like most young attorneys, I was eager to dive in and help the underserved in my community.
Another in-house attorney urged me to volunteer with Bay Area Legal for client intake evenings. Intake volunteers work with pre-screened clients to explore their legal issues and determine the next steps. It’s all about making a professional and compassionate connection, while thinking on your feet and communicating in plain English. A perfect fit for me!
And nearly 35 years later, it’s still a perfect fit.
How else have you served Bay Area Legal?
Four terms on the Board of Directors (including serving as Board President), multiple years on the Development Council, and terms with a variety of committees and teams. Throughout my service, I have deeply appreciated Bay Area Legal’s collaboration with community services and agencies, its innovation in developing legal solutions that are adopted statewide and nationwide, and its integrity in the stewardship of funding and donations.
Recent Favorite Roles:
- Leading an internal team to overhaul the original website (2010-2011)
- Leading the work to reestablish/refresh our planned giving resources, end-to-end – including reinvigorating the Legacy for Justice Society (2014-2015)
- Co-leading internal and external experts in developing a modern, interactive, client-centered website – complete with our new branding (2017-2019)
Volunteering with Bay Area Legal has allowed me to work alongside their talented, professional, dedicated, and passionate attorneys and staff. It is a joy and an honor to serve with them, and to know that we are making our community better, one client at a time.
Why is the work of Bay Area Legal important?
If you volunteer at Intake for an hour or two, you’ll witness the impact of Bay Area Legal. They empower clients with knowledge, tools, and representation. This empowerment restores the clients’ confidence, independence, and dignity. Empowered clients produce stronger communities.
On a personal level, I have seen families supported and protected from abuse, homes secured from foreclosure, clients obtain vital benefits, and countless other life-changing results.
The positive impact of Bay Area Legal extends well beyond its five-county service area. Bay Area Legal originated and administers the statewide Senior Legal Helpline and the new statewide Veterans Legal Helpline. Their “No Place Like Home” title recovery program is duplicated throughout the country. Often, legal projects are templates for model programs. Bay Area Legal strengthens communities throughout Florida and beyond.