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Though Tiffany Poole has only been practicing law since 1999, she has already raised the bar for pro bono work in Delaware. Last year, her pro bono contributions were recognized when she received the Delaware State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award for Achievement. The November 2003 award was given in acknowledgment of Poole’s exemplary contribution to volunteer legal services over a short period of time. In 2002 and 2003, Poole took on a total of 12 cases for Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, far exceeding the one or two cases per year that the organization’s volunteer attorneys usually handle. Poole, 30, has also contributed time to DVLS’ Pro Bono PFA Project; the Office of the Child Advocate; Child Inc.’s Victim Advocate Program; the Limited Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program, which is offered through the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Self-Help Center; and a 2002 Pro Se Litigation Assistance Committee Attorney Counseling Evening. DVLS is a legal services provider that assists low-income clients in a variety of civil matters. Attorneys who volunteer for the Pro Bono PFA Project represent income-eligible victims of domestic violence in PFA hearings. Child Inc.’s Victim Advocate program also pairs volunteer attorneys with people who need assistance at PFA hearings. And Poole helped launch the Limited Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program, which recently began offering free legal assistance to pro se domestic relations litigants at the New Castle County Courthouse’s Self-Help Center. An associate at Rahaim & Saints, a four-attorney firm in Wilmington, Poole practices in domestic relations and bankruptcy. DVLS managing attorney Dana Harrington said Poole is one of the organization’s most stellar volunteers. “She doesn’t say no, and she continues to have an outstanding law practice on her own and to do top-quality work,” Harrington said. “She’s absolutely outstanding.” Harrington said it will be difficult to find a recipient for the 2004 Pro Bono Award for Achievement whose contributions to legal services approach those made by Poole. But Poole said she didn’t realize just how much pro bono work she had done until she received the DSBA award. “I enjoy it,” Poole said. “I like to see people who can’t afford representation have an equal say in whatever they’re doing. I’ve seen a lot of people go [into court] without attorneys, … and people with attorneys always end up [in a better position.]“ Poole graduated from Widener University School of Law in 1999. As a law student, Poole participated in Widener’s Domestic Violence Clinic, which included a family violence outreach program. Through the clinic, Poole met with victims of domestic violence and represented clients during PFA and custody hearings, as well as in divorce matters. The family violence outreach program focused on Wilmington’s Latin American community by sending volunteers to the city’s Latin American Community Center to talk about protection from abuse orders and domestic violence issues, Poole said. Poole’s focus on domestic violence and family law matters began with the Widener clinic and continued during her clerkship at Rahaim & Saints, where she focused on domestic relations. After graduating from law school and joining Rahaim & Saints full time, Poole pursued family law and focused her volunteer efforts in that area. Two years ago, Poole expanded both her private practice and her pro bono work to include bankruptcy work, she said. DVLS now asks her to handle bankruptcy matters since many of the organization’s volunteers focus on domestic relations matters, Poole said. When asked whether she actually sleeps, Poole said she has found that volunteering doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time. Bankruptcy work is straightforward, PFA hearings require blocking out an occasional Friday and pro bono cases are treated like normal client matters, Poole explained. Poole also credited her firm with giving her the freedom to do as much pro bono work as she wishes, provided she is able to maintain her own practice. “I have the best partners in the world,” Poole said. “I was here as a law clerk starting my first year of law school and I’ve stayed here, and they’ve just been very supportive with everything.” Harrington said it is unusual for a law firm — particularly a small one — to allow an attorney to commit substantial time to pro bono work. Family Court commissioner and former Rahaim & Saints partner Jennifer Mayo said she believes Rahaim & Saints is one the smallest Delaware firms to carry a significant pro bono caseload. Name partner Sheldon Saints said Mayo was the first of the firm’s lawyers to become extensively involved in pro bono activities. When Poole joined the firm and expressed interest in volunteering, she was encouraged to do so, Saints said. “Although obviously this is a business,” Saints said, “we do encourage people to be well-rounded here and have outside interests. Quality of life is as important as running a business.” Saints said the firm is proud of Poole’s pro bono work and pleased that associate Marie LaBruyere is also committing time to legal services organizations. “You can’t think of being a lawyer as an hourly matter,” Mayo said, “it’s a higher calling than that.” It was Mayo who nominated Poole for the DSBA Pro Bono Award for Achievement. “Tiffany has done a phenomenal job of not only being a successful private attorney, but also committing her time to pro bono work,” Mayo said. “It’s something that’s very important to her, and she does a wonderful job.”

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