Paw'd Defiance

For the Good

July 22, 2020 UW Tacoma Legal Pathways Director Patricia Sully and Tacomaprobono's Ashley Duckworth. Season 2 Episode 28
Paw'd Defiance
For the Good
Chapters
Paw'd Defiance
For the Good
Jul 22, 2020 Season 2 Episode 28
UW Tacoma Legal Pathways Director Patricia Sully and Tacomaprobono's Ashley Duckworth.

Pro Bono means 'for the good.' In this sense we're talking about the public good or the common good. In this episode of the podcast we talk UW Tacoma Legal Pathways Director Patricia Sully and Tacomaprobono's Ashley Duckworth. Tacomaprobono provides free legal services to Pierce County residents. We'll talk about those services and as well as the different career opportunities within the legal field. We'll also address the pandemic and the looming eviction crisis as states across the country, including Washington, lift moratoriums on evictions. 

*Note: This episode was recorded before Governor Inslee extended the eviction moratorium until October 15.

Show Notes Transcript

Pro Bono means 'for the good.' In this sense we're talking about the public good or the common good. In this episode of the podcast we talk UW Tacoma Legal Pathways Director Patricia Sully and Tacomaprobono's Ashley Duckworth. Tacomaprobono provides free legal services to Pierce County residents. We'll talk about those services and as well as the different career opportunities within the legal field. We'll also address the pandemic and the looming eviction crisis as states across the country, including Washington, lift moratoriums on evictions. 

*Note: This episode was recorded before Governor Inslee extended the eviction moratorium until October 15.

Ashley:

We have great things that happen for our clients. We save their tenancies, or we hide the eviction off the record. Once you get an eviction on your record, it's nearly impossible to ever find housing again.

recorded voice:

From UW Tacoma, this is Pod Defiance.

Eric:

Welcome to Pod Defiance, where we don't lecture, but we do educate. I'm Eric Wilson-Edge, sitting in today for Sarah Smith. Today on the Pod, Tacoma Pro Bono. The local organization provides a wide range of free legal services to Pierce County residents. We're joined today by UW Tacoma Legal Pathways director, Patricia Sully, and Tacoma Pro Bono volunteer clinic coordinator and Housing Justice Project paralegal, Ashley Duckworth. We'll talk about the agency, and we'll also talk about the different career options in the legal field. Finally, we'll discuss the looming eviction crisis, as different states, including Washington, lift moratoriums on evictions that were first put in place at the start of the pandemic.

              Patricia Sully, Ashley Duckworth, welcome to Pod Defiance. I thought we would start just with some introductions. Patricia, you want to go first?

Patricia:

Sure. Patricia Sully, I'm the director of the Legal Pathways Program here at the University of Washington Tacoma.

Ashley:

And I am Ashley Duckworth. I'm the volunteer coordinator and housing justice project paralegal at Tacoma Pro Bono.

Eric:

Ashley, I'm glad that you just said Tacoma Pro Bono, 'cause that's actually my first question. For those folks who aren't familiar with Tacoma Pro Bono, can you tell us a little about the organization?

Ashley:

Sure. So we're a civil legal aid provider in Pierce County. So we help low income residents with any civil legal issue that we have. A large majority of our clients that come through our office actually have family law issues or eviction issues, quite a few domestic violence protection orders. But we also do things like bankruptcy. We help with legal financial obligations. We also help with sealing records and that sort of stuff.

              So we have several different clinics that we help Pierce County residents at. And I think, in normal times, non-quarantine, non-corona times, we have about 85 clinics a month. And a large portion of our program is down at the courthouse, actually representing tenants that are facing eviction at their show cause hearing. So they go through the process, and they're getting ready to go up and talk to the judge. And we scoop them out of the courtroom and chat with them beforehand, and try and work out some sort of deal with the landlord, so that they can keep their housing.

Eric:

Great. Thank you, Ashley. Patricia, you are the director of Legal Pathways. Now for folks who maybe are not familiar with Legal Pathways, can you break it down for us?

Patricia:

Yeah, absolutely. Legal Pathways is a program at the University of Washington Tacoma, that works to support our students who are interested in pursuing law and law-related careers. So we support students who are interested in heading off to law school in the future, and also students who are interested in working in social justice or advocacy or policy work when they're done with their time at the University of Washington Tacoma.

              Recognizing the disparities in legal education, we also prioritize supporting our first generation students, students of color, and other students underrepresented in the legal field, to expand the law school pipeline and access to law and law-related careers. We run a lot of different programming throughout the year to support our students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies, whether that's at law school or other law-related graduate studies. We also bring in a lot of legal professionals to talk to students about the kind of work that they do, so that students can learn more about what careers are out there. We work on partnering with the legal community in Tacoma to have students be able to do informational interviews with folks who are practicing and in the field. So we do a lot of different work with our students in the legal profession in Tacoma and the broader South Sound region.

Eric:

So the two of you, in one way or another, are working the legal field. Now I'm wondering, what led you to that route as opposed to any path you could take? Why did you go that route? And Ashley, why don't you start us off.

Ashley:

So I have to give major props to my mom. She was a trial junkie when I was a kid. And we used to watch trials all the time. I think my first one was the OJ Simpson trial, when I was six or something. But my mom always was really interested in that stuff. She was a stay-at-home mom. And then I became a stay-at-home mom, and my two older children were getting ready to go into school. And I had to really figure out quickly what I wanted to do. And I just went with it. And I'm so glad that I did.

              Now my plan was never to work in legal aid. I wanted to work at the prosecutor's office. That was my big goal. And I actually found Tacoma Pro Bono through an internship program. And I started volunteering, and then I got hired two months later. And I've been here ever since. So I'm six years now.

Eric:

Patricia, what about you? What led you to the law and the legal field?

Patricia:

Yeah. So after my undergraduate studies, I spent a couple of years in the Peace Corps. And during that time, was doing a lot of community organizing and direct service work, and was really thinking a lot about what I would do when I got back. My undergraduate major was Ancient Greek, which as you might imagine, does not lead directly to a job field. So I was doing some assessing. And I was really interested in work that might get to root causes, and allow me to work on structural change issues. So I decided to pursue law school. And I took the LSAT while I was abroad in South Africa, and then came back and started law school at Seattle University School of Law. And now, here I am.

Eric:

So let's talk about the pandemic, which we are 12 years into, I think, or five months, I'm not sure anymore. How has that impacted, for each of you, your work, and also how has it impacted your life? 'Cause I think one thing I'm really noticing, as we've been doing podcasts and writing stories, is that I think it is valuable for people to hear not only how it's impacting folks professionally, but in their lives in general, what adjustments have you made, and how is it going day to day? And Patricia, why don't you start us off.

Patricia:

Sure. I mean, so the most obvious impact for work is just shifting to remote work. The vast majority, 99% of the work that I was doing prior to March was on campus, in person, working with students who were setting in-person meetings in my office, bringing folks to campus to give presentations, really very human-centric, very real life oriented. And so we really had to make a big shift to moving all of our programming to remote access. So using Zoom for all of our meetings, doing student meetings via Zoom. So that has been a shift, but smoother, in many ways, than I would have anticipated.

              A lot of our students actually have preferred that style for the work that we're doing when it comes to webinar things, that I think in some ways, it makes it more accessible, because so many of our students are commuters, and they're only on campus a couple days a week. When we do things in person and it's not video recorded, we're inherently leaving some students out, because those are just not days they're on campus. So it's actually been, in some ways, really great to make things way more accessible, that everything we do is recorded and available after the fact. So students who can't participate live during the event are still able to access the recording.

              On the other hand, there's been a real loss, that I really enjoy working with our students, and doing Zoom meetings is great. But there's nothing that quite replaces sitting in the same room with someone, and being able to share physical space, and not being able to do that is definitely a loss.

              On the personal front, I think where my family is, is dealing with the same thing many families are. We've got two working parents who are now working remotely, who have lost childcare. So we're juggling full time work with a one year old, who's very busy, and wants to be involved in everything. He's a lovely little colleague, who makes life fun and challenging.

              But yeah, I mean, we certainly feel very lucky overall, to be in a situation where we're safely housed, and able to engage in our work remotely, and not having to take some of the risks that many other people are having to take to survive right now.

Eric:

Ashley, how about you?

Ashley:

So it's definitely affected us a lot here at Tacoma Pro Bono. So our clients are low income. So a lot of times, they don't have access to the internet. A lot of times their phone numbers constantly change. One of the best parts about our office is that they can contact us via phone, or they can walk into our office. And on a normal non-coronavirus day, our office is full, every single day, Monday through Thursday. We have clients in the lobby. We have clinics going on. And when this all started, we had nothing online. So we have a very basic website that's easy for our clients to access, to view the programs that we have, and all of those sorts of things. But we didn't have any online intake. We didn't have anything.

              So we basically got a phone call on a Monday and they were like, "Get out of the office." And we were like, "Great, what are we going to do?" And so I probably spent a good 20 hours creating an online intake that we will continue using once this is all over, because it's been fantastic. We get all of the client's information right then. So we're not playing phone tag, where a lot of times, during normal times, we do play phone tag with a client.

              We've just started transitioning back into the office a little bit more. So we've been able to do more actually contacting them via phone. But we've actually gotten a ton more volunteer attorneys out of this, because they're stuck at home, they're bored, and they want something to do. So we haven't seen a huge downturn in the clients that we're able to help.

              Now, when it comes to eviction clients, that's a whole different ball game, because of the moratorium that's currently in place. But everything has really been beneficial.

              We've learned a lot about doing online stuff. We've probably changed stuff once a week, just to fine tune it and make it work better for our clients and our staff that is doing the intakes. But yeah, prior to this, we did not have any sort of online stuff. So it's been fantastic.

              As far as my personal life goes, so I am a single mom of three kids, two which are in school, and one that's in daycare. So I had to transition from full time working-at-home mom, and also full time teacher to two of my children. I have a lot of respect for teachers. I am praying that I don't have to do it again in September, because it's a ton of work. I did keep my daughter home from daycare the first month. And I was working probably about 16 hours a day, because she likes to play with me all the time.

              So I did put her back in daycare, which worked out great. We had a great schedule. But we learned a lot from it. My boys used to fight like no other, and now they've really taken an interest in what the other one likes. And they've really learned how to get along with each other. So I think, while it was very tough in the beginning, it's been fantastic for them. And again, also very lucky that I'm able to continue working at home. I have such a flexible office in Boston. They've been so great with everything, and we're just happy that we're able to keep others safe. And if that's what has to happen in September, that's what has to happen. But we're hoping that schools will be able to at least partially open.

Eric:

Hey, everyone. I want to take a second to talk about the Legal Pathways' Summer Public Interest Policy and Advocacy Program, or PIPA for short. The program provides a $5,500 summer stipend to UWT students, who choose to engage in law-related public interest policy or advocacy internships during the summer. Through providing stipends, the PIPA program makes it possible for students to accept traditionally unpaid summer internships, which might otherwise be a financially exclusive option. If you'd like to know more about the PIPA program, send an email to [email protected] Once again, that's [email protected]

              I don't know what the process with the courts looks like right now. But Ashley, for folks who maybe are new to Tacoma Pro Bono, what's the process like? Let's talk a little bit more about this intake, and then also a little bit more about the services that the organization offers.

Ashley:

So currently under quarantine. So to get to our intake, you go onto our website and it basically says, "Click here for help." And then it takes you to a Google drive doc that has all of the information we need in order to assist you. And then somebody will email with an appointment, or they'll email if they have more questions and that sort of stuff. It's all right on our website, right under How Do We Contact You.

              And then as far as everything else goes, so we are completely remote still. All of our attorneys are contacting the clients via telephone, which actually has worked out better. I think our clients are a lot more able to step away for a few minutes and talk on the phone, versus taking an entire day off from work, to come in and wait for up to two hours for an appointment.

              So once they do an intake, somebody reaches out to them, and then we schedule them into a legal clinic that we have. I had mentioned, we do strictly civil, which a large majority of our clients are family law clients. They're usually going through a divorce or they have a parenting plan. We also have a lot of clients right now that are like, "My children's parent isn't following the parenting plan because they're scared of covid. What do I do?" So we've done quite a few Zoom public meetings, where they're actually on our Facebook page also. With all that information in there, we have attorneys that are actually answering real live questions that are coming through as we're recording. We've done a few on the moratorium. I believe that we will do another one, probably not before the moratorium lifts, because all of our housing justice staff is taking vacation that last week, because we know we're going to be really busy.

              On top of our normal clinics that we do, we actually just got some really amazing funding to work with the, and I'm going to get this wrong, it's the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center out here in Tacoma, I think that's what it's called, I'm so sorry, to actually do mediation for landlords that want to do or have to do a payment plan with their tenants. So we're actually able to pay for a client to go and get two hours worth of mediation, to come up with a payment plan that is reasonable, because that is what the moratorium says, and reasonable is not, it doesn't fit within every single tenancy that's out there. So that's what we're doing right now.

              We're getting ready to get back into the courtroom. We've not been in there at all since mid-March. The court hasn't even been hearing any eviction cases, unless they're for health and safety, which we don't typically represent on those. We have gotten quite a few phone calls for tenants that are worried that they're not able to pay their rent and what their options are, and that sort of stuff. But our public Zoom meetings that we have been doing have been super-informative and fantastic for tenants, to be able to get all of their questions answered by just watching one.

Patricia:

That's so amazing. You guys have really transitioned in such an incredible nimble way.

Ashley:

It was quick. And I think our staff did an amazing job. And I have to give major props to our director, Laurie Davenport, for being so flexible and just allowing us to see what works and change it when it doesn't. So we're lucky for her.

Eric:

Now, is there a fee for your services? How does that work, for folks who want to utilize your organization?

Ashley:

So we are a hundred percent free. You do have to qualify by your income. It's dependent on the federal poverty guidelines and how many people you currently have in your household. If you're going through a foreclosure, we hope your income can be higher, or if you're a veteran or active military, the income can be higher. The best way is to just reach out to us. Don't assume that you qualify because a lot of people actually do.

              There are some other organizations that do legal aid over the phone, and their guidelines are a lot lower than ours. Ours are up to 200%, depending on how many people are within the house.

Eric:

Great. Thank you. Now, Ashley, you've been hinting at something I really want to talk about, which is the pandemic and the job losses that we're seeing across the country, including here in Washington State. And now we're, in a lot of states, their moratorium on evictions, they have expired. And in this state, I don't know when it's set to expire, but I know it's relatively soon, I believe.

              So knowing the road ahead, what is the role of lawyers and people who work in the legal community in this time of crisis? And if we wanted to stretch it, we could also talk about, and Patricia, I know you have some experience with this, a lot of protests going on that are related to some social justice issues around the deaths of black men and women. It just seems like a time for law. So yeah, Patricia, maybe you start, and then Ashley, we'll go with you after. But yeah, what is the role of folks in the legal community right now?

Patricia:

Yeah. I mean, I think of course, Ashley, I think, is going to be able to give, in some ways, a much more comprehensive answer given her work. But I think the role of the legal community right now is to step up and really engage in our mandate to do pro bono service. And for those of us who are not working for legal aid and nonprofits, which is the vast majority of attorneys are in private practice or other work, to really be dedicating part of their time and energy either through a firm or just on their free time, to organizations like Tacoma Pro Bono, because we know that there is a huge wave coming.

              We already know that there's a massive gap to access to justice in our state and in our country, where we have a tremendous number of people who are not able to meaningfully access our courts or justice through them. And that access to justice gap is only going to get wider and wider, as we have the moratoriums expiring, and a huge number of other issues that are going to continue to be exacerbated through the pandemic.

              So workers' rights is a huge issue, where we have folks who are being asked to work in unsafe conditions or without proper PPE, who are being exploited by their employers, and having to participate in that exploitation because they have to live. They have to have that paycheck to be able to put food on the table. And I think all of the problems that already existed prior to the pandemic, I think it's fairly reasonable to expect that they're not getting better. They're only going to get worse. And so I really think it is incumbent on the legal community to step up and give back, and participate in being part of that solution. And for many of us, that means engaging in pro bono work.

Ashley:

So to go into what you had first mentioned was the moratorium. So it actually lifts at 11:59 PM on August 1st, which means that we'll be back in court most likely on August 3rd. But we're hoping that we can get ahead of people going to court and get them into the office beforehand, get them into mediation, make payment plans and that sort of stuff. So we, in past times, have had a great core of volunteers that have been down there at the courthouse with us every single day.

              And we basically just, like I said, I stand in the back of the courtroom and I just stop people. And I'm like, "Are you here for an eviction? 'Cause we're here to help you." And we basically just pull them out. We get all of their information right then. And an attorney sits down and talks to them and explains to them what their legal rights are, what their options are. And then we try to negotiate with the other attorney.

              We have a great relationship with all of the opposing attorneys in Pierce County. We're really lucky. A lot of other counties don't have that relationship. Pierce County is so small, and all of the attorneys know all of the attorneys. So we have this great relationship. And they almost always send clients to us ahead of time, prior to being down at court. But for the ones that don't, we sit down and we help them right then. And we have great things that happen for our clients. We save their tenancies, or we hide the eviction off their record.

              Once you get an eviction on your record, it's nearly impossible to ever find housing again, because landlords don't have, they can just look up your record and see this eviction on there. And of course, they're not going to rent to you if they see that this has even been filed, even if it didn't go through, even if it's just been filed, they don't want to rent to people.

              So we're able to actually hide those off of people's records. We can save people a ton of money on their judgements. We can get them extra time to move, or we can get them a payment plan just to continue living there. The legislature actually came out with a ton of new laws back in 2019, August of 2019, or July. I think it was July of 2019. And then just recently came out with a few more.

              So the moratorium that's currently in place actually requires that the landlord attempt to do a payment plan. A lot of them are not. If they don't, that's a great defense. Once we get in the court and we're able to go up and tell the commissioner, "They didn't offer a payment plan." So we're hoping though still, that we get ahead of those. And we can't do that if we don't have attorneys that are willing to help.

              A lot of attorneys in the community actually don't know that they can get some of their CLE credit through our office, I think it's actually 24 hours per reporting period, which is huge. It's half of what they have to get. And we also offer a ton of free CLE, that stands for Continuing Legal Education, that they could actually get through our office for free, because normally they have to pay for these types of things out of pocket.

              Plus we have so many amazing things that we do for the community. We have the community of lawyers. We have a run team that we do. We have a softball team. We have a trivia team. So we really try and make things fun, and we try and help all of the injustices that we see.

              We actually do have a federal civil rights clinic too, that has an amazing group of volunteer attorneys, where we don't have any clients for them right now. And I'm like, "Where is everybody?" Because I know this is happening. I'm seeing it on TV. But I think a lot of people, that's not their focus right now. I think their focus is to be out protesting, which I wish I could be out there everyday too. But I need to be here doing this type of work to help people.

              But we do have so many amazing volunteers. We're always looking for more volunteers that are wanting to help. I mean, just helping one person, sometimes it feels like it just makes your whole week. And it just, it makes you happy. And it's weird having a job that you get to go to every single day that just makes you happy. And we really couldn't do it without our amazing volunteer attorneys that we have. Sorry, that was very long-winded.

Eric:

No, that's great. Thank you. So let's switch gears for a second, and talk about internships, just the value of an internship, specifically within, maybe there are students who are interested in going into the law. What is the value of an internship? And Ashley, I know that there are a couple of, you have Tacoma interns at your office currently. So why don't you lead it off.

Ashley:

So I keep trying to explain how amazing the internships are with our office. And I wish that I would have gotten some quotes from our past volunteers. Like I said, I didn't want to do this type of work when I first started volunteering here, but it's completely changed my life. Race equity and women's rights are top of my priority list now, where they never would have been even two years ago.

              But you're not going to get experience at a law firm doing an internship with them that you're going to get here. You're getting real life experience with clients that are coming in, who are going through trauma. So you're using a lot of different backgrounds that you kind of have to learn very quickly. I mean, sometimes you have to be a social worker when a client comes in and they're going through trauma, and you're trying to just help them decipher what their legal issue even is. So being able to come in and work directly with clients is not what you're going to get at a law firm.

              Law firms, you're filing paperwork and you're answering phones, which we do here, but we're actually talking to the clients, we're listening to what their legal issues are, and we're trying to figure out which path we want them to take, as far as their legal issue goes. Because there was a civil legal needs study done back in 2015. It's a little outdated now, but clients don't come in with one legal issue. They come in with seven legal issues. It's never just one. It's always, they have a divorce issue, which leads into a housing issue, which leads into a bankruptcy issue, so many different things.

              So when you're interested in law, and you're coming into our office, and you're doing an internship here, you're learning about all of those different types of laws. You're learning about housing all the time, domestic violence, protection orders, and basically how they all intertwine with one another. Because you really don't think about, when you're practicing primarily family law. You don't really think that, "Okay, there's probably more than just that going on here." But getting the real life experience, and coming in, and being able to do the work and sit with clients, and sit with attorneys, and listen to them give their legal advice, and just seeing a case from start to finish, it's just so much different than what you would ever get out of working with a law firm.

              And we are very lucky. We have two UWT students who are in the Legal Pathway Program. They're interning with us right now. They're the only interns that we have in the office currently. And they are both fantastic. I am convinced one of them is going to change what they want to do, and one of them is going to want to become a lawyer. And I'm not sure which one it's going to be, but I think one of them will. 'Cause you always come in thinking that you want to do this, and this is what you want to do. And then you get to see the work, and you're like, "Okay, maybe I want to do this over here." So all around beneficial, because you actually really get to figure out what you want to do with your life.

Patricia:

Yeah. And I would just echo so much of what Ashley has just said. And I think for so many students and so many people, our concepts of what it means to be a lawyer, or to work in the legal profession, are based on media and TV, which are generally wildly inaccurate.

              So in law school and any education, but the thing of law school in particular right now is it's long and it's extraordinarily expensive. So I think it's in student's best interest to really make as informed a decision as they can about whether that's the path that they want to take.

              I know that after I graduated from law school, I spent some time actually working with the Access To Justice Institute at Seattle U School of Law. And I had the chance to work with a lot of students, some of whom were extremely happy with their choice to go on to law school, and others of whom really wished that they had had more information before they started, because this is not what they had pictured doing. And actually, what they want to be is a community organizer, or a paralegal, or an advocate in a different way, but they just didn't quite understand the difference between all of those roles.

              So I think internships are a great way for students to start to see a lot of different actors within the legal system, a lot of different ways that they can make a change, that they can be involved in some of those, involve going to law school and becoming a lawyer, and some of those don't, and all of them are meaningful and compelling.

              I also think for our students who do go on to law school, doing an internship at undergrad is such an unusual, and doing an internship with a place like Tacoma Pro Bono is such an unusual opportunity. Normally these kind of internships are really pretty limited to law students. So an undergraduate, being able to have that opportunity before they ever even enter law school, it gives them a lot more information to work with.

              So during law school, you have two summers basically, to get this kind of experience, which is really limiting. You get two shots to be out there in the real world and see what people are doing and see if it's what you want to do. And for students who do this internship, or these kind of internships, while they're still an undergraduate, they've basically given themselves a whole additional summer of experience that they can take into their law school experience with them, to help them decide, do they want to keep with this kind of work, what area do they want to work in.

              What Ashley's saying, about people don't come in with one legal need, they come in with seven, is just absolutely true, and was completely true in my experience when I was in practice at the Public Defender Association. That was so true of our clients. So having students have the experience of getting to learn about different types of law, and different roles within in the law, is just absolutely invaluable.

Eric:

And I'm glad, Patricia, you brought up alternative careers. That was something I wanted to follow up on. 'Cause when I think of the legal field, I think of, you can be a lawyer. And I know there are other jobs within the legal field, but I don't really know what they are. I've heard the word paralegal a lot in my life, and I've never just Googled it to find out, well what does a paralegal do? So I wonder if, Patricia and Ashley, feel free to jump in, what are some of those other roles that students can pursue that isn't just a lawyer?

Ashley:

So I'm a paralegal, but I am a paralegal that is not like any other. Because the majority of a paralegal position is drafting legal documents, making appointments, doing billing, that sort of stuff. That is not something that I do, because we don't bill. I do draft a lot of documents for the attorneys in the office, but I'm also in the courthouse every day.

              So I go down to the courthouse and help the clients down there. And I also do all of the volunteer coordinating stuff. So any intern that you see in our office, or any attorney that you see in our office, is somebody who goes through me. So my position is a little bit different than what a normal paralegal would be, but it's an option. There's plenty of organizations out there that are just like ours, that are looking for somebody who's just like me. So I'm more of a paralegal advocate. But again, there are tons of positions out there.

              Northwest Justice Project is always hiring for somebody with a paralegal degree. There's Northwest Immigrants Rights Project in our community here, where they actually help people that are at the Detention Center. So each role is different. There's so many different things that you could do. You could even work at a school as a paralegal. All school districts have an attorney. You could work under that. There are so many different things that you can do, that I had no idea about, prior to going and doing the work that I do here. But I can't even think of any other. But I'm not a normal paralegal.

Patricia:

Yeah. I mean, so there's a lot of different options out there. When we think about beyond just law school, but what are law-related careers that people might use with a JD or without a JD. There's a whole world of policy work that's out there. We have a lot of folks who go on after undergraduate, or a master's degree, to be legislative assistants, who work at either the city or state, or in federal level, where they work for a legislator. Those folks often really get to dive into research on specific policy issues, and do a lot of writing. It's a great, great option for people who are really policy and research-oriented, who are not interested in necessarily pursuing a JD. There's a lot of work within the courts themselves.

              One thing that we did last year with Legal Pathways was Judge Frickey, down at the US Courthouse, really wonderfully opened up her, I mean, it's public court, but she invited us to have students come to her docket one day, and then met with the students afterwards. And all of her staff stayed to talk with folks. So the court reporters, the clerks, everyone who's basically in the room helping the court function, those are all important roles that, depending on students' interests and skills and what it is that they want to do and how they want to contribute, might be things that are law-related and of interest, but are not being lawyers.

              There's also the world of this advocacy and community organizing. We were able to host Dean Spade, who's a professor at Seattle University School of Law, and was the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in New York, who is an incredible advocate and activist, and writer and author. And he gave a talk for University of Washington Tacoma called What Every Activist Should Know Before They Go To Law School, really thinking about, for folks, and I identify with this. I was one of these people before going to law school.

              For folks who are out protesting in the streets, who really want to make social change, and have identified law as the way to do it, he really helps people think through what are the limits of law. The law can do some things. There's also a lot that the law cannot do. And social movements, we know, are really where broad change happens from. So he really helped articulate, thinking critically about if you're someone who wants to make change in the world, what can the law do and what can it not do? And if you're not interested in the area where the law does work, and you can participate, maybe this work around advocacy and organizing, whether that's paid labor, unpaid labor, that you do with a different paid job, might be the right career fit for folks.

              And that is in no way, 'cause I've read the world of law-related careers can just go on and on and on. So those are just a few things that come up all the time. And I think particularly come up for our students, because we do have a student body that is so socially aware, and socially justice-oriented, that I'm really inspired all the time by how much our students want to participate in the community, and give back with their careers in the future.

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