Volunteer of the Month – October 2019
Samire K. Elhouty is a civil rights attorney for a federal agency. He also provides legal services to his own clients in estate planning and business transactions.
1. How did you first get involved in pro bono?
Volunteer work has been a priority for me for as long as I can remember. I spent a significant amount of time volunteering in college, so it remained a natural part of my career once I became an attorney. When I graduated from law school and returned to California, I happened to live close to the largest senior housing community in the country and thought it would be great if I could simply volunteer. I walked right in and asked how I could help and, as a relatively new attorney, I ended up providing free estate planning and end-of-life advice to many residents for about two years. Then I moved to Dallas and I volunteered to teach a GED English class at one of the local library branches until I became licensed to practice in Texas. Once that volunteer opportunity wrapped up, I registered for the DVAP’s monthly email list of pro bono cases and I have been providing estate planning services pro bono to clients ever since.
2. What impact has pro bono service had on your career?
Pro bono service allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of experience early in my career, which I would not have been able to do as quickly otherwise. More importantly, pro bono service has made my career much more rewarding. During especially stressful or busy periods in my career, my pro bono clients have brought me so much laughter and enjoyment. Estate planning is such a great practice area to do pro bono work in, because you can learn a lot about a person’s life. I always aim for a personable approach and you never know which clients have amazing life stories and family histories that they may want to share once they get to know you.