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?

Tiffany Spann-Wilder

What firm/organization are you working with now?
ME!!! The Spann-Wilder Law Firm, LLC

What kind of pro bono or volunteer work have you been involved in?
I have worked primarily through the SC Bar Young Lawyers' Division on Community Law Week - doing book drives, clothing drives for suits for interviews, prom dress drivers (Cinderella Project), coordinating membership services via luncheons for young lawyers to have intimate settings with Judges to raising money for all sorts of YLD events. Currently, I am a part of a team for the Bar Foundation to get Young Lawyers to also commit financially to helping community service efforts. My largest service accomplishment and the one I am most proud of it the creating of the Families Forever Adoption Project which actually won national attention and was awarded the American Bar Association's Service Project of the year for 2008-09.

What are the main reasons why you would recommend that law students become involved in pro bono work?
The foundation of the legal profession is to help people. There is an extraordinary sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing that you've made a difference for someone, especially in a situation they believed had no hope.

How would you encourage current law students to get involved with the Pro Bono program?
In this world of technology it may have to start with a video of some worthwhile mission to get people stirred up, then the law school has to be creative too and even offer a 1 or 2 hour course credit for spearheading some great service project that culminates in some quantifiable measure. I think that the emphasis on the importance in all of this really has to start at the law schools and then it will trickle down into the profession.

Has pro bono work contributed to your sense of career satisfaction?
YES! My work in pro bono essentially flowed over to the Bar and lead me to many years of satisfying work in the Young Lawyers Division. The leadership skills learned in this organization (President Pro Bono Board) helped me to ultimately become President of the YLD.

Did your experiences in the Pro Bono program at USC prepare you or benefit you in your career?
YES - see above.

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?
Most definitely,

How do pro bono efforts fit in to the work of the South Carolina Bar?
The YLD is the perfect jump off to continuing the pro bono legacy because it is the service arm of the Bar. Since the YLD is usually the first bar committee a young lawyer is on, it becomes a great place for folks to expand their service component throughout the State of SC.

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 have come to realize that many lawyers "admire" the work others do in that arena, but mainly because it is a male dominated profession the feeling is that they don't have time. The goal is to work, work, work. I truly don't feel that the work involved in helping others (for free) is recognized like it should in the SC Bar. I say this because for years the YLD has tried to get large firms to set in their structure credit for pro bono work. To this date, I am not sure that any one firm has come forward to spearhead this and get others to join in.

What is most memorable/best experience you had during your law school career through the Pro Bono program?
Working with the Incarcerated Battered Women. We worked to try and help push issues for appeals for them. I actually found a letter from an inmate that I helped a few nights ago. It was hard to believe that justice was so blind. It was a true eye opener to what really happens when you are poor and without resources.

What is your most cherished memory with Pam?
Ah, funny to see this, I just emailed her about this. I will never forget the day Pam paid off her student loan. She wrote the check and did a crazy dance in the office. I recall her saying that it wouldn't have taken this long had she gone into the traditional practice, but it was worth every monthly payment to do what she loved.