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Title: General Counsel Location: San Antonio Age: 43 Lots of Drive Some of the best advice ileta A. Sumner ever received was from her seventh-grade teacher, a nun. “She taught me that if you don’t like something, you don’t sit there and complain about it,” Sumner says. Sister Darlene Ceremello also taught Sumner that everyone has a duty to help those around them. Sumner took that advice to heart, and she acts on it every day at work. She is a one-woman law firm for Family Violence Prevention Services, driving up to 500 miles in any given week, between the 12 shelters she services and the Bexar County Courthouse. She provides bilingual representation to domestic-violence victims; family, consumer and housing law advice to shelter residents; and community education to businesses, community centers, military installations and schools regarding the cyclical nature of domestic violence. Sumner came to FVPS in 1998 from Bexar County Legal Aid. She impressed Jim Ermis, former director of counseling for FVPS, with her r�sum� and attitude. “She had great credentials and history, and when I interviewed her it was obvious that she had a great empathy for this population,” Ermis says. It takes a special person to advise the homeless long-term, he says. People burn out because of the endless need, and sometimes clients do not cooperate. Sumner has the ability to value these clients for who they are and give them her best, he says. A case manager with SAMMinistries, an organization that is affiliated with FVPS, says Sumner has been a blessing because she is so skilled and responsive. “I’ve been a social worker working with families for 36 years. I have never seen an attorney as good as ileta is,” Carilyn Brehm says. Sumner was the first lawyer hired by FVPS, so she had to establish the office while handling the work. “I came in, and there was nothing. They had a referral list. There really was no legal department. I had to develop the policies, create the forms, get the word out,” she says. Her first order of business, and still a top priority, was to solicit help from 3,000 local lawyers, eventually culling a list of 150 willing to help out with the “knock down, drag out” cases. “I know the community supports us. We just need to get the bodies to take a case,” she says. Sumner offers free continuing legal education and loans out the organization’s software to volunteers, and she has a pool of family lawyer-mentors. But she has recently upped the ante in attorney recruitment with an advisory counsel, including judges. Her plan is to target new law firm hires, fresh out of law school, and make pro bono work part of their regular practice. “You’d be amazed how many people are all of a sudden signing up to do pro bono, because a judge asked them to,” Sumner says.

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