Volunteer

Marketing & Communications Internship – Fund Development

Are you passionate about social justice? Are you looking for a meaningful experience that will allow you to make a difference in the lives of those who are voiceless? If so, then join our team at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) as a Marketing & Communications Intern in the Fund Development department. We are looking for driven and creative individuals to assist with content creation, blogging, storytelling, research, social media management, fundraising, and event planning.

Our ideal candidate is an energetic, enthusiastic go-getter who is self-motivated and can work independently with minimal supervision. We will provide training, mentoring, and a variety of hands-on opportunities.  This person should work well in a fast-paced environment and can jump head first into projects. If you have a can-do attitude and are willing to learn through constructive criticism in a collaborative environment, then this opportunity is for you.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide general support to the Fund Development team by writing blog articles, creating marketing materials, producing effective communications on the Legal Aid website, developing outreach materials, writing press releases, managing Legal Aid’s various social media accounts, and more.
  • Conduct research to develop marketing strategies to improve fundraising efforts and to promote LASOC services, programs, and events.
  • Assist in promoting, organizing, and coordinating events and fundraisers such as the LEAP Summer Fireside Talks, the Voices for Justice Dinner & Fundraiser, and the Great Wine Festival.
  • Assist with managing LASOC’s marketing database.
  • Optimize all efforts to continually improve processes, approaches, and metrics within the Fund Development department.

Desired skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:

  • Creative and forward thinking
  • Tech savvy
  • Social media/networking website user
  • Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office tools and programs
  • Exceptional writing, editing, and verbal communication skills
  • Research and competitive analysis
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Customer service and good phone etiquette
  • A proactive and positive approach to all assignments
  • Ability to work independently as an energetic self-starter
  • Results and action oriented and can be counted on to meet or exceed goals successfully
  • Ability to manage office priorities and to multitask and adjust quickly to new assignments and priorities
  • Photography skills a plus
  • Experience with Adobe Suite programs a plus (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and InDesign)
  • Relevant degree/experience or currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree

Requirements:

  • Able to work 12 – 20 hours a week for 3 months (start and end dates are flexible) at the LASOC Santa Ana office
  • Access to transportation

Outcomes:

  • Gain hands-on experience in nonprofit communications and development work
  • Increase and improve professional writing, editing, and research skills
  • Expand understanding of issues and areas of need affecting the low-income community

How to apply:

Submit a cover letter, resume, and any writing or marketing samples to irisma@legal-aid.com and fill out our online application for this position here. This is an unpaid internship and can be applied towards school credit.

About the Legal Aid Society of Orange County

The Legal Aid Society of Orange County is a non-profit organization that provides civil legal aid services to our community’s most vulnerable populations: veterans, the elderly, families, and low-income individuals.  The organization has spread its services – advocacy, legal counseling, community education, and legal representation – throughout Orange County and southeast Los Angeles, where over 730,000 client-eligible people reside. Last year, LASOC assisted 114,000 households, which equates to over 33 families a day. Join us to help us promote equal access to justice for all.

From Gerontology to Attorney: Volunteer Spotlight on Peilin Ngo

From Gerontology to Attorney: Volunteer Spotlight on Peilin Ngo
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Peilin Ngo pictured left, Jill Hiraizumi pictured right.

Our Volunteer Spotlight allows us to highlight the amazing work our volunteers do for the community every single day. This month’s spotlight is on Peilin Ngo who has been a volunteer with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County’s (LASOC) Senior Citizens Legal Advocacy Program  and Elder Abuse Workshop since August 2015.

Peilin developed a deep passion for working with the elderly after witnessing the challenges of the aging process through a close family member. Upon obtaining her Master of Arts in Gerontology at San Francisco State University, Peilin started working as a Social Worker at an adult day health care center. But when it came to helping seniors, Peilin found there were limitations to her role. “As a Social Worker, I felt my ability to help my clients was hamstrung by my lack of knowledge about the legal process,” explains Peilin. “I would find myself referring clients to other organizations. ‘I can’t help you, but you can contact this attorney’ type of thing. I wouldn’t know what happened to my client and that really bugged me.”

This frustration motivated Peilin to go to law school to acquire additional skills and knowledge to better assist the senior population. “I wanted to see how I could make a difference for my clients in a bigger way,” affirms Peilin. While enrolled at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, Peilin met Bill Tanner, an LASOC Directing Attorney, who came to the campus to talk about LASOC’s programs and services. This is when Peilin first heard about the Senior Citizens Legal Advocacy Program.

“I was very interested in the program,” remembers Peilin. “I always wanted to work with low income populations, especially seniors.” So after graduating from Whittier Law School in 2014 and passing the bar exam, Peilin started volunteering with the program.

“Law school doesn’t teach you practical aspects of practicing law,” reflects Peilin. “I was hoping that by being at LASOC and working with seniors I would be able to not only learn the legal process but also work with my desired client population on a legal level.”

Whether by meeting with her clients at LASOC or visiting them in senior homes or at their residences, Peilin’s heart for working with the elderly was evident. “Peilin is very passionate about helping our clients,” says Laura Luu, an LASOC Staff Attorney who works closely with Peilin. “There are many seniors who can sleep better at night because of her assistance.”

A particularly memorable client Peilin worked with was Sandra,* an elderly woman involved in a debt negotiation case. Sandra had a large credit card debt and had been paying a private attorney to assist her. But when Sandra ran out of money, her attorney abandoned her. With no resources or knowledge on what to do about her situation, Sandra called LASOC hoping someone, anyone, could help her. Peilin took on Sandra’s case and helped her prepare for her hearing. “The judge determined Sandra’s bank account contained exempt funds, and therefore, could not be garnished or levied by the creditors,” recalls Peilin. “Sandra was facing serious health issues at the time, so when her case had a positive outcome she was so relieved. I went to visit Sandra at her house after the hearing, and she had prepared a huge hot pot dinner for me. She was so thankful; I won’t forget her.”

While volunteering at the LASOC Elder Abuse Workshop, Peilin met her future business partner, fellow Whittier Law School alumna, Jill Hiraizumi. Both quickly bonded over their shared a passion for working with low income seniors. “It’s funny because I didn’t know Jill while she was at Whittier because she was a year ahead of me,” explains Peilin. “We just started talking a lot; she wanted to do estate planning and I wanted to get into elder law. One thing led to another, and now we are doing estate planning together!”

This year, Jill and Peilin formed Hiraizumi & Ngo, LLP, an estate planning, probate, and trust administration firm based out of the OC Community Law Offices, an extension of LASOC which sits adjacent to the LASOC headquarters in Santa Ana.

“My connections with LASOC have allowed me to get advice on not just legal issues, but also on how to be a better attorney. Whenever I have a question, Bill and Laura have always opened their doors to me,” says Peilin.

“Mentorship is huge here,” says Bill. “It’s not just about what our volunteers can do for us, but it’s also about what we can do for them. How can we help them in their personal and professional goals to make them better attorneys and advocates?”

“It seems things have just fallen into place for me,” smiles Peilin.

When Peilin is not volunteering or working, she likes to spend time with her family, her two cats, and her dog.

If you are interested in volunteering with LASOC, contact us at give@legal-aid.com.

 

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

 

A Heart of Gold: Volunteer Spotlight on Doug Davidson

A Heart of Gold: Volunteer Spotlight on Doug Davidson

WP_20140927_004Our Volunteer Spotlight allows us to share stories about our amazing volunteers, the backbone of our organization. Since 2015, Doug Davidson has served as a volunteer attorney and mentor within our Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP). With over 40 years of legal experience, ranging from business law to real estate law, Doug brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program’s attorneys.

Though he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, Southern California is where Doug’s journey began. He was part of the inaugural class at UC Irvine (UCI) back when tuition was only $89 a quarter. While working at UCI as a breakfast manager, he met his future wife, Barbara. They married in 1969 when both were 22 years old.

After graduating from UCI with a B.S. in Economics, Doug considered becoming an attorney. “I felt it was a prestigious career that would make a good living,” recalls Doug. “Who knows, maybe even along the way I’d be able to do the right thing.” So in the fall of 1970, Doug and Barbara packed up their bags and moved to San Francisco so Doug could attend law school at UC Hastings.

“For the first six months, law school scared the hell out of me!” he admitted. “The level of work shocked me.” Despite the initial hurdles, Doug did well on his first year of exams and was selected to be in law review.

Doug’s unwavering ambition and strong work ethic paved the way for a long and successful career in law and entrepreneurship. He worked for a number of small and large law offices in Southern California, opened multiple private law firms throughout Orange County, served as the VP of Real Estate for the Rusty Pelican Restaurant, and co-founded a hotel management company. Even after retiring in 2013, Doug co-founded a mediation firm and continues to work as a temporary judge for the Orange County Superior Court.

So, how did Doug become a part of LEAP? “I saw an article about the LEAP program in the Daily Journal and it sparked my interest,” remembers Doug. After meeting Directing Attorney Bill Tanner and Staff Attorney Scott Barnes, Doug instantly liked them. “I was inspired by Bill’s energy and Scott’s public spiritedness,” he affirmed. Every week, Doug meets with new attorneys to discuss best practices to solve their cases which range from debt collection, to landlord/tenant, to employment cases. Doug also serves as a guest speaker at LEAP’s Bootcamp for the incoming class.

“As soon as I started interacting with the interns, I realized how fortunate I was to have received my formal training and how that is missing today,” reflects Doug. “I started thinking about how people get training and how they figure out how to be better lawyers. I wanted to help move the needle forward.” Doug’s diverse law background and entrepreneurship experience makes him an excellent resource and mentor to the program’s attorneys.

When asked what is most rewarding about his volunteer work with LEAP, Doug chuckled, “I can only play so much golf! No really though, I can’t improve everyone’s life; I can’t solve everyone’s problem, but if I can improve one person’s life or solve one person’s problem, that would be great on my gravestone.”

Though Doug has assisted on numerous cases, one case in particular stands out to him. “I helped Scott and a volunteer attorney develop a strategy on a case in which a woman was terminated from her place of employment for allegedly stealing a bottle of water,” remembers Doug. With Legal Aid’s assistance, the woman was able to obtain unemployment benefits which helped her immensely. “People out there have tremendous legal problems, from collection cases, to student loans, to car payments, and they have no idea how to deal with them,” asserts Doug. “They can’t go to a place where they charge $250-$500 an hour; they don’t have that kind of money. So I really think about what we can do to help them.”

Doug’s empathy and compassion for our clients is what makes him such a valuable and appreciated part of our team. “Along the way, I’ve discovered how many people are exploited by some parts of the economic system that we have,” Doug confessed. “These people don’t have money and they don’t really have access to lawyers like my clients had during my career.”

“When we first asked Doug to lead the civil clinic he was a little leery but agreed to do it so long as it ‘did not interfere with his golf or vacation schedule,’” says Bill. “I have noticed that he has changed his golf schedule to make sure he is here to act as a resource and mentor for the new lawyers. I believe he has found a place where he truly feels good about what he is doing and sees how he is changing lives.”

We are grateful for volunteers like Doug whose passion, commitment, and time makes a real difference in the lives of those who need it the most.

When Doug is not volunteering or working, he loves to cook delicious meals with his wife, play golf, and travel. Last year, Doug and Barbara visited North Carolina, Hawaii, Yosemite, and Japan. “In August we’ll be going to Tanzania and Kenya for a safari,” he beamed.

If you are interested in volunteering with LASOC, contact us at give@legal-aid.com

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jeffry Johnson

We appreciate our volunteers for all that they do, and are excited to share the ways they give back and make our communities stronger! Jeffrey Johnson volunteered with LASOC for over 4 years and has made a tremendous impact through strong leadership and a drive to help others.

After serving 29 years as an officer of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) and retiring as Commander, Johnson began volunteering at LASOC in 2011. He obtained his law degree by taking night classes during his time as an officer. With his degree in law and his expertise gained from years of service, he was able to pass on his knowledge to other staff attorneys, new attorneys, and law students during his time at LASOC.

His experience allowed him to assist LASOC beyond a single department. He volunteered his time helping clients with cases while providing advice for LASOC staff and law students. Last year, LASOC founded an incubator known as the Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP) where new attorneys gain experience by representing clients in court. Johnson spent time mentoring the law students and new attorneys.

He became a guide for many in their first court appearances, helping them during their legal process. As a pro bono attorney, Johnson worked and supervised in the LASOC hotline, providing direct advice in nearly 3,200 cases. The cases ranged from domestic violence, collections, eviction, divorce, bankruptcy, and subsidized housing. Using his experience from his time in the force, he led trainings for lawyers on reports and documents maintained by the police department. Johnson took time to have his training sessions recorded and posted on the LASOC YouTube channel for other pro bono volunteers and the public to be informed on. Even as a retired officer, Mr. Johnson continues to promote public awareness of the police department’s desire to maintain a safe community while ensuring the public understood their rights. His expert advice was applied during the design of LASOC ‘s security protocols. Johnson’s character is seen in his passion to help clients and staff members as well as his desire to create a safe environment within LASOC.

LASOC is grateful to have volunteers like Mr. Johnson who are passionate and devoted towards helping low-income individuals access critical legal services. His devotion to making a difference is truly inspiring, and his commitment to serving the community affirms LASOC’s mission of promoting equal access to the justice system for all.

If you are interested in volunteering your time contact give@legal-aid today!

Volunteer Spotlight: Gerald K. Parker

Attorney Gerald K. Parker is one of the newest additions to LASOC’s pro bono roster. Hailing from the east coast, Boston to be exact, Mr. Parker graduated from Suffolk Law School in 1971. During his expansive 45 year legal career Gerald handled real estate law, corporate bankruptcy, and physician’s business law.

Recently, Mr. Parker relocated to Santa Ana from Florida, and volunteers with the Seniors Unit at LASOC.

He believes strongly in the principles of providing legal aid to low-income communities, and says that, “Everyone who has had the privilege of being a lawyer should look for a way to give back.”

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Parker to Orange County!