Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month – July 2022
Lisa McClane of Fisher Phillips
Lisa McClane is a native Nevadan. Born in Reno, NV, she attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas for her undergraduate studies and the UNLV – William S. Boyd School of Law for her law degree. She was active in the Las Vegas community throughout school as a University Honor Scholar and Department Honors Scholar, as well as an executive officer and member of the Society of Advocates. During law school, she also served as an extern for the Honorable David T. Wall of the Eight Judicial District Court and for the Nevada Attorney General’s office. Lisa is a partner with at Fisher Phillips. Her practice covers the spectrum of employment litigation, including both state and federal claims. Lisa has experience advocating for corporate clients and public employers and routinely counsels clients on a variety of employment practices. Fisher Phillips is committed to supporting our communities through pro bono services and Lisa has been volunteering with Legal Aid Center’s Pro Bono Project since 2006.
A devoted mom to four amazing girls and a successful lawyer, Lisa always finds the time to volunteer, particularly in cases impacting children. When asked why she does pro bono work, Lisa said that she has a personal goal to always have at least one pro bono case open. She indicated that pro bono work is a great reminder of why she became an attorney in the first place – to help people and to make a difference. Pro bono work gives her perspective and grounds her. Lisa said “I can’t always score a victory for kids in foster care, but I can make sure that someone knows where they are, what they need, and what think about their current living situation. They often do not get what they want or even what they need, but I can listen, try to bridge the gap, and make sure that their voice is heard. That can, in and of itself, be empowering.”
We asked Lisa to tell us about a memorable client and why she help them. Lisa indicated that she has many memorable clients but she recalled one particular her 6-year-old client. This 6-year-old had her business card taped to a Tinkerbell clipboard. She boldly told a new caseworker that came suddenly to move her and her brother that she had a lawyer and asked if the caseworker had spoken to her lawyer yet. She told the caseworker she could not be moved unless it was an emergency without someone telling her lawyer first, but they ignored her and moved her to live with relatives out of state who had previously endangered her brother. The Judge made DFS pay Lisa to go visit her clients out of state. The client was very proud when she saw her and kept telling her, “I told them they were supposed to call you.” Lisa said this still makes her chuckle. The little girl client knew the process and what was supposed to happen better than adults sometimes do. She wasn’t shy about telling people she had a lawyer and they better talk to her. Lisa expressed that seeing her face and hearing how she felt some power in being able to tell grown-ups that she had a lawyer in a situation where she had no control made a big impact on her and on Lisa herself. Ultimately, the client and her brother were returned to the foster home they were previously in and adopted by that family as they wanted. It took a couple more years, with some rough spots, but Lisa says she had the privilege of being their advocate on the journey.
One of Lisa’s biggest victory was for two twin boys with special needs who had been placed in a medical facility for years. DFS had difficulty finding a placement where the boys would be together and presented options for one boy to be adopted but the other to remain in care. She opposed separation and pressed for adoption and placement options to be meaningfully pursued for both boys. Ultimately, an adoptive home was found and the mother was a Special Education teacher. The father a videographer. The boys moved to Colorado then New York with the family. Lisa traveled to New York so she could be with them in person when Judge Sullivan completed the adoption. Prior to adoption, the boys did not leave the medical facility expect for school or outside medical appointments. They had never been to a park. They were five years old before they saw a real dog. They now have their own dog. They both attend school, go to parks regularly, have three sisters, and have moved to Japan with their family. Knowing they have each other and a family is Lisa’s biggest victory for any case.
Because of her endless drive to help others, her commitment to pro bono, dedication and passion, we honor Lisa McClane as our July Volunteer of the Month.