Dean ReinhardIn the summer of 2013, attorney Dean Reinhard reached out to LASC expressing his desire to help. As a private practitioner with his own firm, Dean was anxious to volunteer and receive training on poverty law topics. Dean started with the LASC bankruptcy pro bono project and concurrently received on-the-job training with the LASC domestic relations team. A few months later, a perfect opportunity presented itself to utilize Dean’s background and skills: LASC was asked to organize a pro bono brief advice clinic at the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center. A former JAG officer, Dean enthusiastically agreed to staff the clinic and committed to an aggressive schedule so that the clinic could be offered on a weekly basis.

 

The LASC VA clinic kicked off in August, 2013, and since its inception, more than 1400 veterans have received service, including legal information, brief advice, referral to appropriate entities or veteran programs, and extended service.

Dean’s dogged commitment has been the largest contributing factor to the clinic’s success. Fellow volunteer and attorney William Ballam commented: “Dean goes above and beyond. When he hears a story that doesn’t sound right, he works to find out what the real issue is and how he can help.”

Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator Beatrice Bartram agrees: “He is a wonderful person to work with.” Dean’s skills also spread to the next generation of lawyers: volunteer law student Elizabeth Davenport, who assists with clinic intake, notes: “Dean is caring and compassionate with all of the clients. He has taught me how to treat clients with patience and respect.”

Dean receives a great deal of satisfaction working with indigent clients: “It is obvious we are helping when someone thanks us for the littlest thing. You can make someone’s day brighter simply by letting them tell their story.”

Dean’s advice to attorneys who are hesitant to volunteer is simple: “Try it. Experiment. Don’t overthink it. There is Legal Aid training and support available to you, and the clients are very thankful.”

Dean’s commitment to the VA clinic and the clients served by LASC is unparalleled, and the spirit of volunteerism is contagious as more attorneys have been signing on to volunteer.

 

If you would like to join Dean in assisting with the VA brief advice clinic, visit our Get Involved section.

Translate »