Why pro bono work is so gratifying and necessary

It is difficult to see a client in a place of fear and uncertainty, but incredibly gratifying to see them go through the process of leaving an abusive relationship and moving into a brighter future than they ever imagined.

Op-Ed (Tennessee)

Jacqueline Dixon
Tennessean, The
November 25, 2019

Tags: Pro Bono

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands


When my pro bono clients come to me, they have been through the trauma of domestic violence and are often frantic about what the future holds for their families. They are overwhelmed with their situation, which typically includes joblessness and housing insecurity. They have a difficult time seeing a way forward to a better life. In addition to needing help with their legal problems, they need someone to listen and care and offer encouragement.

Recently, I worked with a young mother to obtain a divorce from her abusive husband. She had separated from him because of multiple incidences of domestic violence during their marriage. However, she continued to fear for her and her children’s safety. Because of the young age of her children and her lack of job skills, her employment options were limited, and her family’s income was likewise limited.

I was able to successfully assist my client in completing the divorce process, which included receiving court-ordered child support from her former husband. During that time, she was able to get job training, which gave her the necessary skills to get into the workforce with a job at a local nonprofit. She and her children are in a much better place now, with a promising future. When I saw her recently, she was excited to share with me the goals she is continuing to accomplish for herself and her children.