Dec. 29, 2021

#050: Tiffany Graves & Ellyn Haikin Josef - Pro Bono Counsel


In Episode #050, the final episode of the first year of the How I Lawyer Podcast, I speak with not one but two incredible law firm pro bono counsels about their careers and how to integrate pro bono work into any legal practice.  

My first guest is Tiffany Graves who is Pro Bono Counsel at Bradley where she runs the firm's pro bono programs across ten offices. Prior to joining Bradley, Tiffany was the Executive Director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission an organization created by the Mississippi Supreme Court in order to improve access to civil justice and civil legal aid. She also served as the interim director of the University of Mississippi School of Law's Pro Bono Initiative and Executive Director of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers' Project. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Co-President of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel. 

My second guest is Ellyn Haikin Josef who is Pro Bono Counsel at Vinson & Elkins based in Houston, Texas. Ellyn has been leading Vinson & Elkins's pro bono work for 13 years and is a recognized expert in the field. Prior to joining the firm, Ellyn was a staff attorney at the Houston College of Law Legal Clinic. 

In our conversation we discuss what they do each day in the role of pro bono counsel, the ways in which their firms select pro bono projects, the professionalization of their field and its impact on the quantity and quality of pro bono law projects to lawyers today, how all lawyers (not just junior lawyers) can and should build pro bono into their practice and what they can gain personally and professionally from the experience, what questions law students can ask to determine the actual commitment of individual firms to pro bono work, and what you can do in 2022 to use your law degree (or future law degree) to help your community. It was an inspiring conversation for me and I am sure it will be for you as well.

The two articles mentioned in the episode are available here:

1. David Lash, The Case for Professionalizing Pro Bono Services

2. Esther F. Lardent, Making the Business Case for Pro Bono

Many thanks for listening all year. The How I Lawyer Podcast will be back in February with new interviews and regular episodes.

As always, if you enjoyed this episode, make sure to sign up for future episodes at www.howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.