The VLP is pleased to announce that Kate O’Neil is this month’s V.I.V. – Very Important Volunteer.
After 11 years working as a hearing examiner in Seattle, Kate retired and moved to Spokane, where she found herself attending a Guardian Ad Litem training. Soon after, she started as a GAL. Kate explains she was drawn to GAL work because it is “very collaborative, very satisfying. You feel like you’ve helped this vulnerable person.”
Kate ties this into why she is so excited to help with weekly Status Conferences: “It’s collaborative. The clerk, the volunteers, the judge, everyone is working together to get this pro se person through the process.” She also explains that she has learned a great deal and feels she still has much to learn through volunteering. As a newer attorney in the Spokane area, she has come to know other attorneys and learned to navigate the courthouse better through volunteering.
Still new to family law, Kate emphasizes the importance of volunteer assistance for clients. She points out that these are individuals who otherwise would not be able to access professional legal assistance and explains “a lot of clients come in agreement. They just don’t understand what they need to do to finalize.” Attorneys can walk them through that process, reviewing paperwork and advising clients about how best to proceed. Whether in the courtroom or during one of the VLP’s scheduled clinics, the support that clients receive from VLP attorneys is a vital part of local families finding stability in the midst of their family law cases.
Thank you Kate for the support you give VLP clients. Your time, expertise, and commitment to the community are appreciated!