Volunteer of the Month – March 2021
Bradford Patterson is a Senior Associate at Alston & Bird LLP.
- How did you first get involved in pro bono?
With some other attorneys in our office, I became involved in a clinic to assist military veterans in obtaining expunctions and orders of non-disclosure related to past criminal convictions.
- Describe your most compelling pro bono case.
It was actually through LegalLine, which does not establish an attorney-client relationship but allows attorneys to offer practical solutions to problems. A mortgage borrower called who had been faithfully paying her mortgage except in specific instances where the lender (a relative) had waived certain payments. The lender sold the loan to a third party without communicating effectively with the borrower or the third party, and the new noteholder incorrectly believed that the borrower was significantly behind on payments. I had the opportunity to discuss with the borrower how she could lay out a clear history of payment and demonstrate her good-faith desire to remain current and reach and amicable solution, while not making payments she did not owe.
- Why do you do pro bono?
Over time, practicing law causes us to accumulate general legal skills without always realizing it. Pro bono work is a good way to use some of those skills in a new area of law to help meet legal needs.
- What impact has pro bono service had on your career?
In addition to making me better rounded, it has enabled me to connect personally with clients in ways that are not always possible in everyday practice.
- What is the most unexpected benefit you have received from doing pro bono?
I did not expect to have much to offer in an area other than my typical practice area (finance), but with the right training it is possible to add value in areas that are not directly connected to your core practice