It’s not often in the legal world that we get to participate in win-win situations. Normally if one party wins, it means another loses. For every plaintiff who wins a million dollar verdict, there is a respondent who has to pay it. But this type of zero-sum game is not always the case. The Washington First Responder Will Clinics provide a “win” for all the parties involved.
The clients— police, firefighters, and their spouses from all across the state—get customized and completed estate planning documents at no cost. They get the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have planned ahead for their family, should the worst happen. And they get to see first-hand how much their communities appreciate the dangerous work they do. (For those of you scoring at home, we’re at 1-0.)
The volunteer attorneys who participate also get several “wins”. They get the satisfaction of putting their skills to use to give thanks to those in the community who put their lives on the line each day for all of our benefit. They often also have the opportunity to tap into the spirit of why they chose to practice law in the first place. A further benefit is the opportunity to network, not just with other attorneys, but with the community as a whole. I have personally witnessed how the clinics can improve the community’s overall opinion of lawyers. (Ok, I’ll say it, 2-0.)
Finally, there are the law student volunteers; they have the chance to get hands-on experience and play a meaningful role in supporting first responders. They also are able to make valuable connections and see what practicing law is all about in the real world, not just in the hypothetical world of finding arbitrary dicta in the dissent of some obscure railroad injury case from the 1800s. (The railroads seemed to win only about half the time.)
So now that we’ve established that the program is 3-0 for the clients, attorneys and law students, I know you’re about to ask, “How can I be part of this winning team?” You can join us at one of our upcoming clinics that include Bellevue in April and Lacey in May. Our First Responder Will Clinic webpage has more information about the program and how you can sign up. Best of all, unlike dodgeball on the playground, there are no last picks; everyone gets to be part of the win.