Lorien Cole – CAP Volunteer of the Month May 2020
Lorien Cole of Willick Law Group
Lorien Cole started her legal career by serving as a judicial law clerk in the 7th judicial district court, and then practiced in Elko, Nevada for the next 4 years. During her five years in the rural communities in Nevada, working in Elko, White Pine, Eureka, Lincoln, Lander, and Humboldt Counties, she realized how important access to justice is for all citizens of the State of Nevada. Lorien was honored to dedicate many hours to pro bono service, as well as reduced fee services in the district court criminal cases, dependency cases, and family cases through a county legal aid fund. In Elko, she was also able to serve on the Board of the Justice League of Nevada, a non-profit organization that was founded to address the need for funding of legal services to the poor and legally disadvantaged, where she advocated for legal aid funding to the Nevada rural communities.
In 2015, Lorien moved to Las Vegas, and joined Willick Law Group, where she is currently employed. Now, Lorien does all her pro bono service by taking cases through the Children’s Attorney Project, representing children who were removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse and neglect. She also serves as a TIP mentor, where she mentors new attorneys recently admitted by the State Bar who have an interest in learning more about family law or practicing primarily in the area of family law. In 2019, Lorien passed her boards as a Certified Specialist in Family Law, which is her primary area of practice.
Lorien became involved with Legal Aid when she joined Willick Law Group. Willick Law Group has been instrumental in providing pro bono services to the citizens of Clark County for decades. She has always been encouraged to do pro bono services and it is a regular and expected part of her practice. The Law Firm’s QDRO Masters division does all of the pro bono retirement orders for the litigants of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and their attorneys have dedicated hundreds of hours to pro bono services by taking cases through the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and cases through the Children’s Attorney Project.
When asked why she does pro bono work. Lorien’s response was; “pro bono service is some of the most rewarding work I do as an attorney, and I believe it is my obligation to serve the underprivileged and vulnerable that have no independent voice. In the last few years, I transitioned to taking all of my pro bono cases from the Children’s Attorney Project because it is by far the most rewarding pro bono work I have done. It is heartbreaking that children are in a situation of instability, abuse, and/or neglect, and as their CAP attorney I am able to communicate their wishes, be their voice during the court proceedings, and give them some comfort that their wishes are being heard. I get to work with the entire team to advocate compassionately for my clients, and work to improve and stabilize their situations. At review hearings, I can provide the court with a window into the children’s placement environment, their wishes, and advocate for services to meet their individual needs. I always have the support of the Children’s Attorney Project liaison to ask for forms, advice, and a second opinion on more complex issues.”
When asked to describe one of her most memorable clients, and how she helped them. Lorien found it difficult to name one, she indicated that she has had many memorable clients and it would be difficult to pick just one. She responded that “without taking anything away from all of my other amazing pro bono clients, I had one that I represented the last several years that made a huge impression on me. My client is an 11-year old boy who was removed from his family in 2016 due to severe abuse and neglect by family members. His mother was deceased and his father was unknown, with no available family placements, so by the time I was transitioned into the case, he had been in foster care for several years. He was so severely abused he would have violent tantrums, and was frequently displaced from his foster homes due to safety concerns. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggle, especially considering he was such a sweet, gentle child the times I spent with him. I consistently advocated his interests to the team and in court, and pushed to have finality and stability in his life. I was overjoyed when he finally got a stable “higher level of care” foster care placement in 2019, and was accepted into a loving, adoptive home in 2020, after four long years in foster care. Throughout the process, I was impressed by his amazing team members who were able to successfully find him the appropriate foster placement, and finally the “forever home” that every child deserves.”
Lorien’s compassion, work ethic, endless dedication and desire to assist those most vulnerable in our Community is what makes her our Children’s Attorneys Project Volunteer of the Month.