Melanie's Pro Bono Lawyering Project
Organized by: Melanie Gleason
Melanie Gleason via Crowdrise
August 07, 2015
Friends and community-at-large,
I just gave away nearly everything I own to prepare for the biggest transition of my life.
I will be living a nomadic lifestyle until at least the end of 2015—doing social justice lawyering all over the US—100% free of charge, pro bono. And I will be writing a series of exposés and reflections about my journey on my website: www.attorneyonthemove.com.
My first stop is California's Central Valley in Delano, where I will be for a month (from 7/13 to 8/7)—working as a volunteer attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance performing much needed legal aid. Delano is the heart of California's agricultural hub: ground zero for farmworker organizing where the grape strike led by César Chávez and the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) occurred in 1965. Many of those same issues that led to this historical strike still exist for many in Delano today.
I am fundraising my salary through the end of this calendar year for basic necessities. Can you chip in and help me make my dream of social justice lawyering throughout America come true?
I am embarking on this project because I believe the most radical lawyering occurs on the ground—working alongside the people and movements who need legal services the most. I have learned throughout my 10+ year career rooted in organizing/education that I am the most comfortable being in the trenches. It is where I belong. And I am passionate about a more holistic, community-based model of lawyering—where the intersection of organizing, coaching, and the law collide to form the most amount of leverage to topple the status quo. We all deserve better.
Can you contribute and show your support for a people powered form of lawyering?
I feel our country is at a critical movement moment. There is a status quo uprising in the air—the Black Lives Matter movement; fighting for continued LGBTQ rights and protections; attacking the largest wealth gap between the 99% and 1% in America's history. And I am taking to heart the meaning of we are the ones we have been waiting for.
I have done (and always will do) the inner work and deep introspection that has led me to choose this path—there is no plan B for me. I am pushing all those chips in! :) And I couldn't be more excited to begin.
Finally, I am currently getting my Professional Coach Certification (PCC) and will continue to offer remote-based life coaching to help fund my pro bono legal work. I am deeply committed to help others actualize their own dreams by sitting in the passenger's seat. I can tell you that although putting oneself fully out there can feel terrifying (!), there is no greater sense of peace.
Thank you for your support, friendship, and for believing that one person can make a difference. I hope to see you out there in the great wide open!
Melanie Gleason, Esq.