Molly Crabtree“Good outcomes for grateful clients. Nothing beats it.” 
 
Porter Wright Litigation partner Molly Crabtree sums up the most fulfilling aspect of handling pro bono cases through the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) Volunteer Resource Center (VRC).

 

Molly joined Porter Wright in 2001 after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Law School. She first became involved with LASC as a newer attorney when she volunteered with the Pro Bono Tenants Advocacy Project, which linked attorneys with tenants facing eviction in Franklin County. Since that time, she and her firm have expanded their involvement in the VRC Housing and Consumer Projects. Molly then elevated her own volunteer participation by joining the LASC Board of Directors.

 

Porter Wright’s pro bono participation has been fantastic, thanks to Molly’s leadership and coordination. Her method could serve as a model: as one of the firm’s pro bono coordinators, she acts at the initial point of contact, arranging the conflict check and making assignments within the firm, ensuring that new volunteers are always paired with an attorney who has experience handling referrals from LASC. This coordination role cuts down on the amount of time onsite VRC volunteers expend in securing and arranging the referrals.

 

Molly’s initial motivation to volunteer with LASC in order to have “court time” is representative of many new attorneys’ desires to gain experience while giving back. Pro bono referrals through the VRC Housing and Consumer projects offer these attorneys the opportunity to be first chair on a case, making arguments before a municipal court magistrate or handling the full scope of discovery before a municipal court judge. Molly therefore encourages newer attorneys to “budget volunteering into their time, both to meet other attorneys, and to develop substantive skills.”

 

Molly finds satisfaction in the bigger picture as well: “Both in the beginning and now, it’s rewarding to handle cases for people who are directly impacted by every aspect of the outcome. I believe access to civil justice is a vital need in our community and that we all have an obligation to do whatever we can to increase that access. LASC stands as a shield between low income clients and life-changing negative outcomes in every area in which they provide services.”

 

Porter Wright attorneys have had a concrete impact on the lives of the clients they’ve represented. One VRC consumer client’s review is particularly memorable: “Jared Klaus and Allen Carter were the best! They treated me with respect and professionalism and as if I was a paying client. I would recommend them to a paying client anytime. I can’t say enough positive things about this team of lawyers!”

 

Molly is truly one of the leaders of this ever-expanding team of lawyers who volunteer their time and talents on behalf of LASC. She helps LASC lead the fight to ensure access to civil justice. Thank you, Molly!
For more information on the Volunteer Resource Center, visit our Get Involved section.
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