This is a guest post from Steve Trubac. Steve is an associate at Bryan Cave, representing clients across a number of different industries and assisting with transnational, litigation and trademark enforcement needs. He is also a member of PILI’s Young Professionals Board.
I am coming up on my third year as an attorney in Illinois. In private practice, I have had opportunities to work on incredible projects. Yet by far the most rewarding work I do is for my pro bono clients.
If there is one thing pro bono work has taught me, it is that even the simplest of legal advice or representation has a meaningful impact. I have worked with a client to obtain trademark protection for her charity which raises money for childhood illnesses. I assisted in drafting an amicus brief on the importance of equal recognition for same-sex parents. My greatest realization as to the importance of legal aid, however, occurred last year while volunteering time at an immigration clinic. I remember speaking to hard-working families who had lived in Chicago most of their lives, and yet whose legal future as Americans was up in the air.
Though I am proud of the pro bono work that I do, I am not a public interest attorney, and I recently began looking for ways to expand how I can give back. A few months ago, a partner at my law firm told me that PILI was looking to create a Young Professionals Board and asked if I was interested in applying. I had heard of PILI, and soon remembered this was the same organization that helped my friend obtain a summer Fellowship in Chicago after graduating from law school. My friend – who also is not a public interest lawyer – told me about the incredible work being done to help Chicagoans in serious jeopardy of losing their homes.
I decided to take a shot in applying, and am now a proud member of PILI’s Young Professional Board. Beyond our work in raising money to support PILI Internship grants and Fellowships, being a member of the YPB has both given me an even greater insight into the incredible importance of legal aid, and highlighted the other opportunities available for non-public-interest lawyers to support the tireless work being done by public interest lawyers across the state.
Our Board – though only a few months old – has amazing energy, and in planning our inaugural fundraiser this May (tickets on sale now!), I am always impressed with the incredible drive we have in working together both to get PILI’s name out there to other young professionals, and in planning a successful event that will help fund legal services that are more critical now than ever.
Being a young professional is a full-time job, but my generation does not let that stop us. We are hard-working, we are driven, and we are passionate about solving problems big and small. To all young professionals out there looking to get involved, meet amazing people, and make your own mark in a cause that is important to you, I advise you to take a leap and join a Young Professional’s Board.