October 2009 Spotlight: Austin Nash
This month's spotlight is on Austin Nash of Moore & Van Allen, PLLC. Austin wears several hats at Moore & Van Allen, one of which is the Pro Bono Coordinator. She participates in the monthly Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program (MCB VLP) meetings as well as stays in close contact with the staff of MCB VLP and partner organizations.
If you are interested in finding ways your firm's Pro Bono Coordinator can become more involved with the MCB VLP, please contact Heather Blackley at the Bar at 704/375-8624 ext.115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Employer / number of years with current employer?
Moore & Van Allen, PLLC; 2 years
BA, Communication Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
How did you discover this pro bono career path?
Pro bono work is a big part of MVA. I started at MVA as a Marketing Assistant, and transitioned into the role of coordinating pro bono and community projects for the Charlotte office.
What is the typical process for placing a pro bono case?
Our community partners let me know what type of pro bono case needs to be placed. I run a conflicts check, and then depending on what type of case it is, I call one of our attorneys to see if they are available to take the case. I then ensure the volunteer attorney is put in contact with the community partner representative and has a copy of the case description. I'm fortunate to work with many attorneys familiar with several different types of cases.
How many pro bono cases do you typically handle at one time?
I facilitate cases as I'm contacted by our community partners. The organizations that contact us most frequently are Legal Aid, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, the MCB, the Self Serve Center and Council for Children's Rights. I typically don't have more than 1 or 2 cases at a time.
What is your hope for the future with regard to the pro bono initiatives with your firm and the greater MCB?
I hope that Moore & Van Allen continues to make pro bono work a top priority. As a firm, we recognize that our attorneys are a valuable resource that can provide legal assistance to those in need within our community. Pro bono initiatives as an important way to give back and make a difference.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The relationships that have formed between our firm and our community partners; they can always reach out to us, and we hope to always be able to offer them assistance. I like knowing that I can be a small part in helping form that relationship.
What the most challenging part of your current job?
It's tough knowing how many people are in need. It can be stressful at times, but knowing I'm helping someone or an organization makes it worth it.