OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Someone with such strong character stays with you

I could see his determination to improve his life.

One pro bono attorney’s reflection on bringing legal services to veterans.

Photo of Jennifer Cormano, an associate at the law firm of Nixon Peabody.

Jennifer Cormano, Associate at Nixon Peabody LLP

Last month, Jennifer Cormano joined a team of attorneys from Nixon Peabody LLP and DIRECTV on the Justice Bus to staff a free legal clinic for isolated veterans living in Lancaster. Over the course of just one afternoon, these volunteers provided vital advice and assistance to 29 veterans facing a wide array of legal problems. Working closely with expert attorneys from the Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles (LAFLA), these attorneys brought much-needed services to those who served our country.

We asked Jennifer to share with us some of her reflections on the experience – what it meant to be able to serve veterans, her experience on the Justice Bus, and her personal connection to pro bono.

We know you’ll enjoy her answers as much as we did!

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Jennifer, tell us a little bit about your favorite memory of volunteering at the Justice Bus clinic for veterans?

All of the veterans I helped while participating in the Justice Bus Project were very inspirational, but one stuck with me. Even though he was recovering from Postraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and some physical injuries, he wanted to go back to school.  When I worked with him, I could see his determination to improve his life. As cliché as it sounds, meeting someone with such strong character stays with you.

A photo of Jennifer sitting on the Justice Bus with other lawyers.

Jennifer with fellow volunteers from Nixon Peabody LLP and DIRECTV head out on the Justice Bus!

What was the funniest thing that happened on your trip?

As an ice breaker to get to know everyone on the trip, we took turns saying our names and our high school mascots. One of the lawyers couldn’t remember his mascot, but was pretty sure it was the fighting fawns. While I appreciate the alliteration, I don’t think  fighting baby deer would be very intimidating. Actually, I think it might be pretty adorable.

What is your personal motivation to do pro bono work? 

I believe it is our professional responsibility as lawyers to provide access to our legal system. I like the Justice Bus model, because it does two very important things.  First, the pro bono model allows me to empower clients to advocate for themselves, which is about more than just legal advice.  Second, the model of having experts on-site allows a team of legal professionals to provide meaningful legal advice to as many clients as possible in a short amount of time.

A photo of Jennifer with another volunteer at the Justice Bus clinic, holding a sign that says "impacting one life makes all the difference."

Bringing free legal help to veterans in isolated communities truly makes all the difference.

What are your plans in terms of continuing to do pro bono work?

Since my commercial work is all transactional, I am most comfortable in a clinic setting.  I plan to continue to volunteer at clinics, participate in pro bono models like the Justice Bus, and where possible partner with my clients. For example, recently DIRECTV‘s legal department participated with Nixon Peabody LLP on the Justice Bus.  It was very rewarding to work with a client to serve our community.

And our final question for you – what fictional social justice hero do you most admire and why?

A fictional social justice hero? There are so many real social justice heroes that I admire – Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony come to mind first.  However, if I have to name a fictional character, I’d say Atticus Finch from “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  Like a lot of lawyers, it is my favorite book. One of my favorite quotes in the book is something Atticus said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Over the past year, the Justice Bus Project has served 144 veterans throughout the state.

A most heartfelt thanks to Jennifer and all of these volunteers, who make the Justice Bus possible! 

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