Pro Bono Project Volunteer of the Month July 2014
James Leavitt of Graves & Leavitt
James was born in Las Vegas, and has had the luck of traveling around world to enrich his life experience. James is a graduate of UNLV and of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. During his time in Chicago, James worked with the acting Chapter 13 Trustee, Marilyn O. Marshall. James found his work with the Chapter 13 Trustee to be invaluable in his future career as a debtor attorney, and he took the job because he believed the experience would be train him to help debtors navigating through the Chapter 13 process. His experience helped him learn the skills to give his future clients the best representation during the bankruptcy process. James worked with the Chapter 13 Trustee when the great recession was starting to hit, which afforded him unique insight into what was happening to real people on the front line of the crisis.
Many of you know his father, Terry Leavitt. James has followed in his father’s footsteps and entered into the family trade of law. James started practicing law with his father in October 2012, focusing primarily in Bankruptcy law on the debtor side, and recently some aspects of civil practice.
When asked why he is involved in pro bono work, James without hesitation said he believes getting involved in pro bono work is an important part of being an attorney. James thinks it is important for attorneys to provide access to our legal system to the public who can’t otherwise afford to pay an attorney. James firmly believes that it is part of our duties as attorneys to offer this service to people in our community in need.
James has offered his help with a number of pro bono cases, and very rarely says no when the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada calls on him to help with a case. When asked which of his cases have been most rewarding, James said that all of his pro bono cases are rewarding, because as a lawyer, he has the ability of giving people a fresh start – and that’s one of the things he likes about being a lawyer.
One of the cases that stands out to James is a pro bono case involving a disabled client who is trying to discharge her student loan debts in connection with her bankruptcy case. She filed her own Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, and Chapter 7 Trustee Brian Shapiro recommended that she seek further assistance at Legal Aid. Since then, James jumped in to assist her, and is currently representing her in an adversary proceeding. According to James, her life is tough and helping her discharge student loans will make her life better. James is glad he’s in a position to help her, and we are honored to name James T. Leavitt the pro bono attorney of the month.