As a Cleveland native who attended law school in Nashville, I moved to Denver with no connections to the legal community. I knew that I wanted to practice family law, but I knew nothing about the family law community or where to start my job search. After taking the bar exam, I started volunteering with Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Family Law Court Program in hopes of learning more about Colorado family law and networking with family law attorneys. Luckily, a few months after I started volunteering, I was offered the position of Rovira Scholar.
The Rovira Scholar position is for a recent law school graduate dedicated to MVL’s mission. It is made possible by a generous donation from Lois Ann Rovira, the widow of former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Luis Rovira. The Rovira Scholar receives a monthly stipend and is expected to make a commitment of at least six months. Because my interest is family law, my fellowship has been focused on that particular area of the law.
The majority of cases that MVL receives are family law cases, so I had plenty of opportunities to gain experience in this area. I worked primarily with the Family Law Court Program, which assists clients with simple, uncontested dissolution of marriage and allocation of parental responsibilities cases. In addition, I was able to represent a client who could not be paired with a pro bono family law attorney through our referral program.
My fellowship was incredibly rewarding. In addition to gaining exposure to Colorado family law, I have spent the past few months networking with other family law attorneys, which, as a new Colorado resident, has been very valuable. Most importantly, this fellowship allowed me the opportunity to provide legal services to those who could not otherwise afford them and to better understand the unique legal challenges presented in pro bono public service. I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had as a Rovira Scholar and I look forward to continuing to volunteer with MVL in the future. D
Jamie Leaver Sawyer recently accepted a position at a family law firm and can be reached at email@example.com.