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Member Spotlight: Clinic Volunteer, Rhys Bortignon

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m originally from Sydney, Australia, and my husband and I moved to New York four years ago. I’m an attorney at White & Case in the Capital Markets group. I’m also on LeGaL’s Leadership Council steering team and a regular volunteer attorney at the Tuesday Night Clinic at the LGBT Center in Manhattan.

How did you get involved with LeGaL? After moving to New York, I really wanted to get more involved in the LGBT community here, but, being new to New York, I wasn’t sure where or how to start. I found out about LeGaL and its Tuesday Night Clinic through my firm’s pro bono program. This immediately appealed to me as a way to use my existing skills directly to help members of the community. I got in touch with LeGaL’s Legal Director, Brett Figlewski, and I have been involved in the Clinic ever since. 

Last year, Brett asked me whether I wanted to get more involved and join LeGaL’s Leadership Council. I jumped at the opportunity. The purpose of the Leadership Council is to connect various firms and companies to assist meaningfully in LeGaL’s work to safeguard and advance the rights of the LGBT community, whether taking on important cases, hosting events, or spearheading new pro bono projects. What happens at the Tuesday Night Clinic? The Clinic provides a safe space for members of the LGBT community to come and discuss with volunteer attorneys any legal questions they might have. We assist with a wide variety of topics, including housing, immigration, criminal cases, family law, employment and discrimination, among others.

What do you enjoy most about the Tuesday Night Clinic?

Seeing how your own experience can really make an impact for members of the community, especially members who would not otherwise have access to legal services. I’ve also met an amazing group of people at LeGaL and at the Clinic, and I’m excited about ways that my firm and others can get even more involved in the work that LeGaL does to benefit all of us.

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