Meet DVLS attorney, Jacki Chacona!
Why do I work in the legal services field?
I can take zero credit for working in the legal services field. I give the credit to my parents and Christine McDermott.
I was raised by two amazing parents who loved me, encouraged me and taught me by example that the best thing you can do in life is try to make other people’s lives better. My parents were not social workers, lawyers or crusaders for justice by any means, but they were-are good caring people who gave as much as they could as often as they could. There was really no hope for me to do anything other than what I am doing and I am eternally grateful to them for the life I have today. I grew up to believe that we should help make the world a better place and that helping others was not a duty or an obligation but just what you do, it should be done without thinking, like breathing.
If having good parents did not seal my fate then meeting and working with Christine McDermott did. Christine was a force. She was by no means perfect, she would be the first to admit this but she was a good person who always tried to do good. Christine said everything I thought (and more) without a filter. She was a woman’s libber, an activist, outspoken and irreverent. She was compassionate, caring and brilliant. She introduced me to DVLS and the type of work I do today. I will admit when I first went to law school I thought my focus would be on environmental law (what better way to make the world better than to literally make the world better) but a few environmental law classes later and one class that was taught by Christine and I quickly changed focus to helping individuals. Don’t worry I still do everything I can to help the environment but as a layperson not a lawyer. I love my job because it allows me to try to help as many people as possible and I work with amazing people at DVLS. I love my job, my co-workers and I get to do what I love every day. I know how lucky I am to say that because most people cannot. Why do I work in the legal services field? The simple answer is because I can’t imagine ever wanting to do anything else.
My wish for legal services?
The obvious answer is more money. All the agencies always need more money to do more, expand programs, hire good talented people…but more money is not my answer. The one wish I have for legal services is that we increase the number of committed volunteers. I want attorneys to start young and make pro bono a regular part of their practice so that it is just always there. I want firms to encourage every member of their firms to do pro bono work and reward them for that work. I want more people like Christine McDermott who will fight hard and long for those who cannot fight for themselves.