Meet CLASI volunteer attorney, Sheila Hochhauser!
I worked for Legal Aid and the Legal Services Corporation of North Carolina when I was a law student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I have just always felt that corporations and wealthy individuals would be able to find and easily pay for quality legal representation. I believed my mission to be to provide quality legal advice and services to lower income and minority people. Even as a judge, I felt part of my job was to do everything possible to level the legal field in my courtroom for self-represented litigants who simply could not afford to hire lawyers.
I was awarded a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship by Legal Services after I graduated from law school. Unfortunately, when we moved to Kansas I had no opportunity to use it. After a long legal career in private practice, specializing in representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, and 10 years as a district magistrate judge in Kansas, I started at CLASI as a volunteer attorney in 2017. I am so happy to be able to spend my retirement using my legal skills and experience once again in aid of people who really need dedicated lawyers.
I feel I made a big difference in a child’s life when, as a judge, I terminated the rights of her biological mother and placed the child in a pre-adoptive home with parents who were dedicated to meeting her regular and special needs. We followed the case through appeal, and then through the final adoption. When I left Kansas, this child was thriving in the care of her new family.
Of course, I wish there were funding for legal aid organizations to be able to hire as many lawyers as there are clients who need us. I also wish all legal aid organizations were administered as well as the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.