Pro Bono Net would like to recognize the thousands of volunteer lawyers who make a huge difference for those in need and the incredibly important work of pro bono volunteers in building our capacity to meet the vast unmet need for civil legal services.  Today, in honor of National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, we’re sharing the profile of Nisha Sandhu, a volunteer with Southeastern Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).

 

Nisha Sandhu
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in pro bono legal work.
I’m a solo practitioner with a family law and criminal appellate practice, both of which are demanding and very rewarding.  I grew up surrounded by volunteerism, which was a priority for my parents. My father actively participated in various community projects. He had and still has a strong sense of civic duty, responsibility and humanity, so it was a no brainer that I would give back to my community in the same way.  For me, I chose pro bono legal work for three reasons: 1) there’s a tremendous need in our community for legal services, 2) I’ve been blessed with curiosity and the ability to solve problems, and 3) I have a duty to use those abilities to better the world around me.  For me, the verse, For everyone to whom much has been given, from him much will be required (Luke 12:48 (NKJV)), is truth. I have my Dad to thank for that.

What kind of pro bono work are you involved in?
I handle mostly divorce and custody pro bono cases.  These are very emotionally wrenching areas for the parties going through them and can be difficult to navigate for those who are unrepresented.

Can you share a highlight from a memorable case?
One of my first cases involved a young lady seeking a divorce from her husband who was incarcerated. He’d been involved in drugs and she’s been through so much and had a young child she was raising despite all she’d been through. During our first conversation, she told me her story and after discussing a few details, she politely asked whether I’d be able to handle her case or whether she would have to “get a real lawyer.” We were on the phone, so I chuckled to myself a little and assured her that I was, in fact, handling her case and, what’s more, I was a real attorney.  Since that time, I’ve helped her with various other issues that have come up for her family and she’s been one of the best clients I’ve had.

 


Southeast Louisiana Legal Services offers civil legal aid to low-income people in Southeast Louisiana. Our mission is to achieve justice for low-income people in Louisiana by enforcing and defending their legal rights through civil legal aid, advocacy and community education. SLLS is Louisiana’s largest provider of free civil legal aid and works with government and public service agencies to secure justice for persons in need.

 

Pro Bono Net would like to recognize the thousands of volunteer lawyers who make a huge difference for those in need. We are celebrating Pro Bono Week, October 25-31, by honoring those dedicated volunteers. Each day we are spotlighting a pro bono volunteer in the community on our organization’s website in the Volunteer Profile section. Our third profile spotlights the work of Rebecca E. Algie, an associate at Seward & Kissel LLP, and volunteer with Her Justice.
Rebecca E. Algie, Litigation Associate
Rebecca E. Algie, Litigation Associate

 

Rebecca E. Algie is a litigation associate at Seward & Kissel LLP.  As a summer associate, she first volunteered 5 years ago, in 2010, on a case referred to by Her Justice, a non-profit organization based in New York.  This volunteer article recognizes the ongoing commitment and dedication of Rebecca to providing low-income women with access to justice, and highlights her work on a litigated divorce case for a mother of four children, her advocacy of which ensured her client’s long term economic security and the right to safely remain in her home. 

 

 

Her Justice is proud to recognize the outstanding pro bono work of Rebecca E. Algie, Esq., a litigation associate at Seward & Kissel LLP.  Ms. Algie is a 2011 graduate of Boston University School of Law. She first volunteered on a case referred by Her Justice in the summer of 2010, while she was a summer associate at Seward. Since then, she has continued to work on litigated cases and she remains a dedicated and highly effective advocate for Her Justice clients. Litigated cases, especially litigated divorces, always present a challenge in recruiting pro bono attorneys, yet Ms. Algie continues to rise to the challenge, not daunted by challenging material facts or the potential of prolonged time commitment.

The following case illustrates the outstanding work and dedication shown by Ms. Algie to Her Justice clients:

“Ms. Algie served as the main attorney on a litigated divorce case working under the supervision of a senior attorney at the firm. The client was a mother of four children; the youngest two were from her then- husband. The parties’ youngest daughter has several medical conditions which required open heart surgeries. The child needs a wheelchair whenever she is being transported long distances; she also needs regular feeding tubes and is severely developmentally delayed. The marital residence was a single family home in Staten Island, New York which was on the brink of foreclosure proceedings.

Ms. Algie fought relentlessly to secure a favorable financial and custodial settlement for the client; particularly given her concern of the father’s being able to meet the child’s special needs during parenting time.  The client obtained primary residential custody with terms that both allowed the father time with the youngest daughter while protecting her special needs. The client received exclusive occupancy of the marital residence, with the protection of shared liabilities and the client retaining 100% of any sale proceeds should a foreclosure sale occur. In addition to child support, the client received spousal maintenance for eight years, thereby carrying her into retirement at 65 years of age. Ms. Algie’s zealous advocacy on behalf of this client ensured her long term economic security and the right to safely remain in her home.”

Ms. Algie’s commitment to providing women with access to justice is evident in her continued representation of Her Justice clients on litigated cases and in her strongly encouraging other associates to take these challenging cases as well. At a recent Her Justice litigated divorce training, Ms. Algie elaborated on the skills she has learned from Her Justice volunteer cases including oral argument, motion practice and negotiations – learning opportunities that only come much later to young associates in large firms. She also spoke of the personal satisfaction of helping women with difficult legal cases in such vulnerable and critical aspects of their lives.  We are honored to work with Ms. Algie and thank her for her tireless advocacy and effort on behalf of our clients and her commitment to the mission of Her Justice.

View on Site

 

Her Justice engages the talent and resources of New York City’s law firms, bringing together committed lawyers and determined women to secure life-changing results.   What makes Her Justice unique is that it is based on a “pro bono first” model.  Her Justice specializes in offering pro bono assistance—connecting volunteer lawyers from premier law firms in New York City with low-income women. Her Justice brings the power of the legal profession to those who need it most, giving low-income women, many of whom are victims of domestic violence, and their children a real chance to obtain the legal protections they need to overcome poverty and abuse.


Once again we wish to thank all of the volunteers that continue to make our mission of increasing access to justice a reality. Come back each day this week to view the next Volunteer Profile spotlight!

Interested in volunteering?  Check out our “Volunteer Tools” page to learn about the range of resources we have at Pro Bono Net to help mobilize and engage pro bono volunteers, or start searching for opportunities right now by using our national Pro Bono Opportunities Guide!