Ross: Faith leads lawyer to provide free counseling

Jun 29, 2023, 8:10 AM | Updated: 8:44 am

lawyer free counseling...

Lawyer said faith led him to do free legal work. (AP)


Today’s guest commentary is from Michael Goldenkranz. Last week at its annual awards celebration, the King County Bar Association named Michael Goldenkranz as the winner of the 2023 Pro Bono Award.  Michael provides free legal help in civil cases for people who can’t afford an attorney.  He also happens to be a regular listener to Seattle’s Morning News – and so I asked him to do a guest commentary on why he believes in volunteering:

I’ve been very fortunate to be part of a dedicated volunteer legal team that’s provided by our bar association. It’s committed to providing free legal services for those with difficulty obtaining or paying for civil legal aid.

While there is a constitutional right for criminal defense, civil legal services are far more frequently needed, but they can be expensive and difficult to obtain.

So why do I volunteer? Mr. Rogers, the children’s show host and Presbyterian minister, beautifully explained the Jewish value that guides me, tikkun olam; we are called to be tikkun olam repairs of creation.

More Dave Ross commentaries: Pinwheels and peer pressure at a pre-school grad ceremony

As to who inspired me, my dad taught his sons that the world does not revolve around you. Pop was a nonstop volunteer into his 90s. The Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer said, Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own.

So do something, even if it’s a little thing for which there’s no pay, but the privilege of doing it. If we can connect, help, and provide hope to those who often share with us, just the tip of their personal iceberg.

It’s a blessing to watch someone we helped leave with just a bit more spring in their step because they were heard, valued, empowered, and given options when they didn’t think they haven’t any. Then we, as volunteers, are grateful.

You make a living by what you get. But you make a life by what you give. There are countless volunteer opportunities, and the need is never-ending.

When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping. Thanks is an understatement to all who have helped me to become a helper.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Faith leads lawyer to provide free counseling