20th Anniversary Celebration

20th Anniversary Celebration Committee

20 Things You Might Not Know

20 Things You Can Do

Where are they now?

History of the Pro Bono Program

For the Good of the Order

Pro Bono Program

Where are they now?

Gwynne Goodlett

What firm/organization are you working with now?
Children's Law Center, USC School of Law

What kind of pro bono or volunteer work have you been involved in?
Domestic violence work for local shelters in rural Georgia. Funding was through a two year Department of Justice grant. I have also done some limited veterans benefits work. The policy work I do now is not pro bono, but it is very much in the public interest.

What are the main reasons why you would recommend that law students become involved in pro bono work?
In a profession that is plagued with long hours and unhappy clients, it is incredibly rewarding to know that you have helped change the course of one person's life.

How would you encourage current law students to get involved with the Pro Bono program?
As Nike says-Just Do It! Something, anything. Any amount of time. Get outside of your comfort zone.

Has pro bono work contributed to your sense of career satisfaction?
Without a doubt.

Did your experiences in the Pro Bono program at USC prepare you or benefit you in your career?
I could not do the policy and systems work I do today without understanding the way the system works on the front line. Representing a juvenile in family court and being involved in an abuse and neglect case as a guardian was extremely helpful.

In your career, have you seen an overlap between your volunteer work and your sense of your own place in the community and the legal profession?

How do pro bono efforts fit in to the work of the South Carolina Bar?
Having been in solo private practice, it was always hard not to be driven by the bottom line, just to make sure I was being a good business person. I sincerely understand attorneys who feel burdened by being begged to take pro bono cases and how they have an obligation to their paying clients. That being said, pro bono must be than an obligation you grudgingly do. It must be a way we contribute to the profession, contribute to the community and contribute to our fellow the client sitting across the desk.

What kind of perceptions, positive or negative, do you think that the bar as a whole has about attorneys who are actively involved in pro bono work?
I was asked by a judge (not here) if this this was really the kind of work I saw myself doing long term. I took that to mean that taking cases for low income clients was something new or incapable attorneys did. I really saw representing low income clients as a calling unto itself. I was also tired of being called the "social work attorney." I could see how layers of legal problems were related and connected to decisions early in life.

What is most memorable/best experience you had during your law school career through the Pro Bono program?
I sincerely enjoyed being a Guardian ad Litem. I kept up with the young woman for some time after law school.

What does the 20th Anniversary of the Pro Bono program mean to you?
Wow, has it been that long?

What is your most cherished memory with Pam?
What memory of Pam is there NOT to cherish!