The VLP is pleased to announce that Gina Costello is December’s V.I.V. – Very Important Volunteer.
Gina has practiced in Spokane for 20 years, primarily in family law with some work with dependencies and criminal defense. She started volunteering when she was an associate with now Judge Maryann Moreno, and is a current volunteer at the VLP’s Status Conference clinic. She likes volunteering because “there is a synergy in helping pro-ses which helps the court, which helps your fellow lawyers, which helps your cases.” “If the court has to take time to understand what a pro-se wants after presenting the wrong pleadings then we are all hopelessly stalled. If the pro-se is equipped and ready with the right pleadings they have access and are heard. Gina also loves how “every day is a surprise, since not one set of facts is the same. Sometimes you help people where just being in the same room helps them come to an agreed divorce.”
For new volunteers, Gina recommends to “really listen to what people are saying, because that’s going to change the pleadings, what people want. Often we get in such a hurry, that you fill something out or do something and then you find out that that’s not really how they want to go about it.” She mentioned how volunteering helps remind her to listen to her own clients and put in the time to understand their story. She also wanted to encourage everyone starting out in this practice to give their time, especially in this difficult time with COVID.
Gina wanted to focus this article on the VLP’s role at Status Conference during the pandemic. When we spoke, Gina mentioned that what really astonishes her is just how many people wanted the attention of the court but weren’t really willing to wear a mask. She also wanted to say, “I’m grateful for the people that have helped especially during this pandemic. I’m grateful for the leadership that the VLP has shown, making safety calls, and looking out for volunteers. No volunteer is going to say, I’m not going to volunteer because I’m concerned for our safety. Most people are going to say, if everyone else is there, then I’m going to be there. Leadership in keeping everyone safe is really important, so I’m grateful for the VLP.”
Thank you Gina for your support for VLP clients. Your experience, time, and legal expertise are valued and appreciated!