LEGAL SERVICES/PRO BONO - Michael S. Dingman
- November 15, 2009
Michael S. Dingman
Reed Smith LLP
Other legal specialties: Construction law/litigation
Birthplace: Kingstown, R.I.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, College of William & Mary; law degree, George Mason University School of Law
Family: Wife, Christina; children: Patrick, 18; Thomas, 16; Katie, 13
Hobbies: Coaching youth sports
Fan of: New York Mets
Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Recently read: “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell
Why is it important for lawyers to perform pro bono work?
“Every day people are confronted by a legal system which they think is unfair or is stacked against them because of their financial or social status. Many have good legal positions but have no idea what they are and so they unnecessarily lose valuable rights, often with long-term and dire consequences. The only people who can change this situation are attorneys. No one else has the ability or the right to represent another on legal issues. If attorneys shirk this responsibility, the profession and the judicial system suffer and the perception that justice is for the wealthy persists.”
What was your most satisfying pro bono assignment?
“My most satisfying assignment was representing a family of four that was about to be evicted from their home a week before Christmas. After identifying a flaw in the judgment against them and filing an emergency motion, I was able to have the judgment set aside. Calling the mother to tell her the family would not be evicted was one of the most satisfying calls of my professional life. And thereafter they were good-paying tenants. Often people just need a chance.”