Ryan Carpenter is a member of the Oregon State Bar, but lives and works in Washington state. Under the multi-jurisdictional practice of law rule, he is also able to volunteer in Washington. Watch the video to learn more about the multi-jurisdictional practice of law rule. Learn about what Ryan is doing to give back below the video.
How have you volunteered and what has that experience been like?
I have volunteered here for approximately two-and-a-half years. I’ve worked with the Association of Corporate Counsel on their street law program, working with kids who attend Chief Sealth High School. I have also volunteered with the organization called Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations (WAACO) in their microenterprise clinic in South Seattle, where I volunteer routinely. I also work as a legal adviser with a new nonprofit called Minds Matter of Seattle.
As an attorney, what are the skills you have gained through engaging in public service?
One of the main things is my volunteer service offers me the ability to move beyond the narrow scope I have in my day job, working in-house. It’s refreshing to work and advise on issues that I wouldn’t ordinarily encounter during my daily practice. I probably also wouldn’t interact with the public as much, since I work in-house. So it’s nice to have that personal interaction.
What would you say to a peer who is interested in volunteering?
The main takeaway that I have and would like to impart is volunteering does not necessarily have to take up a lot of time. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer your service ad hoc or on a limited scale, which are equally as appreciated as ongoing service. Many organizations would appreciate a few hours of someone’s time. One of the major barriers to pro bono is the perception that volunteering is going to take up a lot of time and that people simply don’t have that bandwidth.
What has been rewarding during your volunteer work?
The most rewarding piece of volunteering is the immense gratitude and appreciation for those who receive and facilitate the services. They are very grateful for any contribution that can be made to their goals; that is always a nice feeling.
Bearing in mind confidentiality rules, would you be willing to share a client story with us?
I don’t have one in particular, but at the WAACO clinic in South Seattle, the entire premise is to assist low-income clients to start up businesses. Working with those clients, building up and helping their business get off the ground, is really rewarding and I am thrilled to be involved.
This month, look for opportunities to serve the public and the profession, learn about the rules and resources that support you to do pro bono, and hear from your peers the many rewards of volunteering.