An interview with Megan Dempsey, 2020 Justice Lover. Justice Lovers are comprised of attorneys who give time through our Volunteer Lawyers Program in addition to making monetary contributions to Bay Area Legal.
What is the most recent pro bono effort you’ve helped with at Bay Area Legal? Can you provide some details of the case/ advice you provided?
Our client was being evicted for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19. The client found another place to move and we were able to successfully negotiate with opposing counsel for voluntary dismissal. The eviction process can be confusing. Just as much as I provided advice, I guided our client through the process.
How do you balance your full-time work as an attorney and still remain involved with pro bono?
I am not sure I would call my life balanced. I enjoy my practice and feel that pro bono service is a part of it. When you are passionate about something you make time for it.
Why do you feel it’s important to give both time (pro bono) and monetarily?
As soon as I heard about the eviction crisis, I felt compelled to help out. We all have something that we can contribute to assist people in need, whether with your time talent or treasure. Assisting Bay Area Legal Services was a perfect fit and one that allowed me to work on things that were impacting our community most intensely during this difficult time.
What advice would you give a current law student looking to get involved with a legal aid organization?
It is a great way to get exposure to an area of law that you may be interested in. I know I have added valuable experience to my otherwise transactional practice.
Why do you think legal aid is essential?
There is a big gap between the number of people who need legal services and those who can afford them. We all became lawyers for different reasons, but the heart of the profession is helping others.
What is another cause you are passionate about?
I am passionate about the health, safety and future success of children. Throughout my eight years of service on the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, a public organization that receives its funds from county property taxes, I have worked with my fellow board members and staff to facilitate partnerships and programs to support all children and families in Hillsborough County.