Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month-August 2021
Angela Lizada of Lizada Law Firm, LTD.
Angela Lizada grew up working in the fields of the Florida panhandle. She had never met another attorney until college when she had an internship with a judge. Angela is a first generation college graduate. She received her Bachelors from Saint Leo University and her Juris Doctor from Stetson University. Angela knew she wanted to do something to help people so, during her last year of law school, she was a student practitioner in Florida at Gulf Coast Legal Services and represented victims of domestic violence with family law issues. She never thought she would practice family law, but feels more purpose in helping families and trying to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. Angela now has her own practice, Lizada Law Firm, Ltd. She has been married eighteen years and has two children.
Angela has volunteered with the Legal Aid Center through the Children’s Attorneys Project (CAP) and Family Law Ask-A-Lawyer Program. She has even assisted with pro bono family law cases. We asked Angela why she does pro bono work. She responded: “I do pro bono work for the same reason I became an attorney: to help people. I have seen struggles and disputes growing up that could have been resolved with a little estate planning. I also grew up in a broken home, so I can personally relate with how the children feel in these cases. I do my best to make my clients truly understand how actions affect the children, such as, for example, asking a child to pick who they want to live with is not being nice and giving your child a voice in most cases, but putting them in an awkward, uncomfortable, and often traumatic position. I have a strong background in domestic violence cases, and usually more than 50% of my cases involve domestic violence. Doing pro bono allows me to also help the victims of domestic violence that do not have the resources to pay for advocacy.”
We asked Angela to share a story about a memorable client. She shared: “My most memorable client was a CAP client. I represented a child that was 16 or 17 at the beginning of my representation. She had been removed from her mother on the east coast after her mother separated from her longtime partner, who had been the child’s father figure and was the father of her multiple other siblings. My client came to Nevada to live with her father and was removed after significant drug and violence issues. Father and stepmother were beyond hateful to my client and made wild accusations, trying to blame the family turmoil on this child instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Stepmother took the majority of my client’s belongings and gave them to her own children or sold them online and my client found the online postings. One of the siblings even showed up to court wearing my client’s favorite baseball cap and shoes that were a gift from her friend. Her father openly attacked my client in court, and I had to take actions on numerous occasions to protect my client from the traumatic actions of her father. I was able to get my client placed back with her mother’s ex-boyfriend on the east coast away from her abusive father and get a court order requiring her father to pay to replace all of my client’s belongings. My client has now graduated from high school and wants to be a nurse. Teenage CAP clients are my favorite, because I feel that it is a very important time to make sure that children have their voice heard, while still being protected.”
For her commitment to pro bono, we honor Angela Lizada as our August Volunteer of the Month.
James M. Davis
Jennifer D. Golanics
Michiko L. Nozawa-Joffe