Bono Scholar Steven Maffucci spent at VLSP getting hands-on practical experience while he completed his JD. She loved having his help, it just ended too quickly.
Steven’s perception of those same 12-weeks might be described as eye-opening – as he learned
about the need for volunteer attorneys to help under-served clients in Rochester and Buffalo. Of his
own experiences, he shared a story about a client having nightmarish problems with the IRS over
penalties for early withdrawal of retirement funds – which he only withdrew because he was laid off of work and battling cancer.
“I saw how someone who is essentially doing everything right can, in the blink of an eye, be
faced with legal problems that just aren’t going to disappear,” Steven said.
The Wednesday on-campus class that Steven and seven other Pro Bono Scholars attended this
semester augmented their practical experience as they shared stories each week about various client issues.
“All eight of us were in different placements, some handling immigration or domestic violence,
others working with housing and family law issues,” Steven added. “We talked about how to approach clients with difficult news, and how to simply listen to clients.”
Asked about advice he might offer an aspiring law student, Steven quickly endorsed the Pro
Bono Scholars program by saying: “I’d tell them to jump on it. The Pro Bono Scholars experience gets you fully immersed in the real world.”