It is important that they feel someone is on their side…..”
Meet Mike Nedzbala, a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP. For the past four years, he has served as a volunteer attorney in our Custody Advocacy Program. Learn more about why Mike got involved with the Council and what he finds most rewarding about volunteering and working with the children.
How did you learn about Council for Children’s Rights?
Through others in our office that were involved in the program. Our office has partnered with CFCR for five years and has been involved in over 27 cases.
Why did you decide to volunteer with us?
Two reasons: (1) I was looking for an opportunity to get more involved in pro bono representations and was interested in helping children in need and (2) it has been a great way for me to work with members of the Hunton & Williams staff. I have really been impressed with our staff, who is very dedicated to these cases and effective advocates for the children.
What is the most rewarding aspect of this volunteer work?
I think gaining the trust of the children involved is most rewarding. While they are initially wary and unsure of our role, they soon open up when they realize that we are looking out for their best interests. It is important they feel like someone is on their side in these difficult custody cases.
Why would you encourage others to volunteer?
First, because there is a great need for more advocates for children in our community that are caught in the middle of difficult and heartbreaking custody battles. Second, because there is nothing more rewarding than connecting with a child and making sure their voice is heard. For me, as a transactional lawyer for a large law firm, working on cases for CFCR brings a totally different experience and perspective on the practice of law, which I think helps make me a better lawyer. Third, CFCR makes it easy. Even if you do not have any relevant experience, CFCR lawyers work with you and stay very involved leading the case. I have learned a lot working with CFCR’s lawyers and staff and have a tremendous amount of respect for their commitment and effective advocacy on behalf of the children.
Interested in joining Mike as a volunteer attorney or a volunteer child advocate? Contact Mary Schilli, firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-372-7961 for more information. We’d love to hear from you!