Volunteer of the Month – May 2020
Ewa Champagne is an attorney at Baker & Hostetler LLP.
1. How did you first get involved in pro bono?
My life has been full of adventures, and one day, I landed in Dallas unexpectedly. With only a New York license, I turned to DVAP clinics to stay connected to the legal community while obtaining my Texas license, finding a job, and embracing Dallas as home.
2. Describe your most compelling pro bono case.
I helped a client prepare her will and powers of attorney. That might sound trivial, but what stood out most about this case wasn’t the legal work that I did for her, but rather the relationship that we formed. I confided in her that I was pregnant with my second child before I told anyone else. Even though I was supposed to be the one helping her, her kindness and care for me was overwhelming! She called me to checked on me, baked me goodies for my morning sickness, and we continue to keep in touch.
3. Why do you do pro bono?
I think the better question is why wouldn’t you do pro bono? It is the easiest way to use my legal skills to make a difference in another person’s life. It is a way to stay familiar with an area of practice that I enjoy, but don’t have an opportunity to work on otherwise. I’m also a big proponent to never stop learning, and taking on pro bono cases allows me to develop new skills.
4. What is the most unexpected benefit you have received from doing pro bono?
Estate planning and probate were previously a central part of my practice, and I derived deep personal satisfaction in helping clients with these important decisions. When my career trajectory changed directions, I was initially sad when I thought that I would never draft another will. However, to my surprise, through pro bono opportunities I have not only been able to continue helping clients with their planning, I’ve also been given the exciting opportunity to mentor and guide other colleagues with their first pro bono wills. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to serve the community, and even more delighted to help equip other attorneys do the same.