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DWT
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Seattle

The firm encourages all attorneys to find a way to participate in pro bono projects and community service. DWT is a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge and commits to providing 3% of its annual hours to pro bono. Individual lawyers doing pro bono work can earn billable credit up to 8% of their annual billable-hours goal.

For example: DWT was instrumental in establishing the King County Bar Association’s legal services program for the homeless about 20 years ago, and our Seattle office has a longtime relationship with the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC).

One day each month, a team of DWT lawyers and staff goes to the shelter to meet with people who have signed up to talk with us about their legal issues. Associate Joanne Montague joined the team about a year ago, and has discovered that most of the clinic’s attendees are struggling with a tangle of problems relating to housing, unemployment, bankruptcy, past criminal convictions, or other such issues.

“They may come in with one problem,” she says, “but when we speak to them we discover a lot of underlying problems that have to be dealt with first. My goal,” she adds, “is to break down the issues into smaller parts and advise them on what to work on first.”

A recent client is a young man without a birth certificate. Born in Massachusetts with albinisim, he was apparently unofficially adopted by a woman who raised him and whose last name he used as his own. When her alcoholism and lifestyle turned abusive, the client, then a 15-year-old, ran away to the streets of New York where he lived for several years, until about three years ago when he came to Seattle. His need to access medical benefits for his health conditions brought him to our legal clinic, because without a birth certificate he is unable to obtain a Social Security number. We are currently researching his situation.

In 2011, our DESC team served 46 clients. The team consisted of lawyers Marco de Sa e Silva, Joanne Montague, Carly Summers, Missy Mordy, Jonathan Lloyd, Pete Johnson, Ken Payson, Sheehan Sullivan Weiss, Maya Yamazaki, Holly Wylam Klein, and staff Mieko Beyeler, Mary Dougherty, Patrick Watts, Julie Orr and Andrea Carino.
2011 Oregon employment law deskbook now available
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