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?

Tanya Gee

What firm/organization are you working with now?
South Carolina Court of Appeals

What kind of pro bono or volunteer work have you been involved in?
As Clerk of Court of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, I am prohibited from engaging in the practice of law, which prevents me from participating in many pro bono projects. However, I have helped create a yet-unpublished Appellate Guidebook for Self-Represented Litigants. I have also rallied the attorneys in my church to volunteer one day a year to prepare wills for low-income seniors. Additionally, I've chaired a Children's Book Drive and a Kids' Id Project through the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar.

What are the main reasons why you would recommend that law students become involved in pro bono work?
The pro bono program helps remind law students of how we can use our resources and gifts to help others. The program allows law students to get experience in a variety of different fields which will help them later in their careers, and it helps students forge true relationships with their fellow volunteers. That type of networking is so much more powerful than a handshake and hello.

How would you encourage current law students to get involved with the Pro Bono program?
Prior to law school, I worked at the York County Public Defender's Office. When I got into law school, the overwhelming advice I received from the attorneys in both the public defender's office and the solicitor's office was to GET INVOLVED WITH THE PRO BONO PROGRAM. I followed that advice and now give it to future law students I encounter.

Has pro bono work contributed to your sense of career satisfaction?
Absolutely. When I work on a pro bono project with other lawyers, it makes me proud of my career-choice. And it also gives me concrete examples to rebut the snide comments I hear about lawyers at cocktail parties!

Did your experiences in the Pro Bono program at USC prepare you or benefit you in your career?
Yes, I believe it has. For one thing, it made my resume more interesting. For another, I continue to have a good network of attorney-friends from my volunteer experiences from law school.

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?
The South Carolina Bar, specifically the Young Lawyers Division, is a great resource for pro bono opportunities. The YLD "gets" that volunteering is a win-win situation for young attorneys and the community.

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?
Lawyers who are actively involved in pro bono work are highly respected.

What is most memorable/best experience you had during your law school career through the Pro Bono program?
As I reflect on this question, I realize that so many of my fondest law school memories revolve around the Pro Bono Program! To me, Pam Robinson's office - the hub of all things pro bono - was my go-to place between classes. As a law student, when I felt stupid for how I butchered answering a question in class or when I fretted about upcoming exams, I could go to Pam's office and talk to her about it, all while she talked me into signing up to serve hotdogs at an upcoming fundraiser, or into filling out the paperwork to become a volunteer guardian ad litem, or into helping collect food for Harvest Hope. The list goes on and on.
I also remember having a core network of friends that I met through the Pro Bono Program that spanned all "grades" in law school. There's something about tutoring at an elementary school together or bagging toiletries for battered women together that helps forge long-lasting friendships!

What does the 20th Anniversary of the Pro Bono program mean to you?
It means a sense of community is still thriving at the corner of Main and Greene streets!

What is your most cherished memory with Pam?
Pam Robinson was my ballast as I navigated law school, so instead of one specific "moment," my most cherished memory is the feeling of comfort that would wash over me when I spent time in the pro bono office.