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2014 Virginia Legal Elite - Legal Services/ Pro Bono

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Tara Casey Photo by Mark Rhodes

Tara Casey
Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service, Richmond

Title: Director, Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service
Other legal specialties:  Public policy
Birthplace: North Brunswick, N.J.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Virginia; law degree, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Spouse:  Alan W. Dow III
Children:  Sylvie, 7; Ezra, 5
Hobbies or pastimes:  Volunteering, RVA-phile, driving my husband crazy
First job as a lawyer:  Presidential Management fellow at Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Fan of: “Masterpiece Theatre”
Favorite vacation spot:  Wherever cell phone coverage is spotty.
Recently read books:  “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and “A Moveable Feast’ by Ernest Hemingway
Career mentors:  Eva Plaza, former assistant secretary for FHEO at HUD; Debra Prillaman, former civil supervisor, Richmond Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern District of Virginia; George Hettrick, special counsel, chair of Pro Bono Leadership Committee, Hunton & Williams; Wendy Collins Perdue, dean, University of Richmond School of Law

How do you decide which pro bono projects to take on?
If there could be a magic formula for the creation of a pro bono program, I would suggest this: (Identified Community Need + Capacity to Meet that Need) x Individual or Group Passion for the Issue = Successful Pro Bono Program.  Most law students do not lack for passion; indeed, I believe we could light our city with the energy these students provide. However, as a lawyer, I must be attuned to the needs of our community, and as an educator, I must be attuned to the capacity of my students to meet those needs.

What are the goals of the Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service?
The University of Richmond School of Law created the Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service in recognition of an attorney’s professional obligation to serve the community, as well as a law school’s responsibility to educate its students on the need for pro bono legal services. The center connects the skills and talents of its student body with the greater Richmond community and a network of regional, national and international programs.  By cultivating such service, the Carrico Center not only provides a valuable resource for the community, it also prepares students for a life of purposeful citizenship.

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