VLSC CLASP Volunteer Brandy DeOrnellas

Brandy DeOrnellas
Brandy DeOrnellas, Roisman Henel + Adams

Brandy DeOrnellas, Roisman Henel + Adams, is a regular volunteer at our CLASP Clinic, held the first Saturday of every month. CLASP is a drop in clinic that provides brief free legal consultations, advice, and referral services.

Why do you volunteer with VLSC?
I believe in VLSC’s mission. Throughout my life, I have been exposed to family and friends who struggled with legal issues but could not afford an attorney. One of the reasons I attended law school was to help promote access to legal assistance. Thankfully, my law firm, Roisman Henel + Adams, is committed to volunteering for VLSC – one of our trusts and estates attorneys volunteers at each Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program (CLASP) clinic.

Do you have a particularly memorable VLSC client, pro bono case, or clinic experience?
I was overwhelmed by the need of our community at the last CLASP. We volunteers were very busy – I saw nine clients in four hours. Each client was struggling with a legal issue that had serious repercussions for their lives, including how to protect a mother from elder abuse in a nursing home, how to become the guardian of a granddaughter, and questions about the probate of a parent’s estate.

What other community activities are you involved in?
I’ve worked with seniors most of my life, and have a policy background, so I am involved with CANHR: California Advocated for Nursing Home Reform. They are at the forefront of all policy affecting seniors in California, and especially policy affecting long term care residents. I also enjoy mentoring young women considering a career in law or policy.

What are you listening to on your iPhone right now?
My husband enjoys cultivating Spotify playlists. The playlist I’m listening to now is full of acoustic songs – it’s great for this time of year because it feels like fall.

What is one thing you wish our donors and supporters knew about VLSC?
Most of the clients who reach out to VLSC or attend CLASP have already made several attempts to resolve their legal issue or to obtain an answer to their legal question. Many are on the verge of losing hope and the services offered by VLSC are often the clients’ last resort. These services are critical to providing Alameda County residents with access to legal assistance and justice. To VLSC donors and supporters – you make these programs possible.

This interview originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation’s newsletter. Read the full issue: VLSC Fall 2017 Newsletter.