Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month-September 2019
Shirley Derke of The Law Office of Shirley A. Derke
Shirley Derke has been volunteering with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada for about 10 years. She has represented 28 pro bono cases, volunteers for the Probate Ask-A-Lawyer Program and has mentored Boyd students through the Partners in Pro Bono Program. Before practicing law, Shirley was a CPA. She currently has her own practice where she primarily practices estate planning; trust and probate administration and has also included guardianship, corporate formation and limited family law areas.
When we asked Shirley why she decided to get involved with pro bono services, she said “My heart breaks for a client that needs help, but is prohibited from pursuing the legal system due to the costs involved…all people deserve help to get into the legal system. It is always a sad case when a family member has died and left their heirs with legal issues. The client is grieving; unable to comprehend what steps they need to take; and may need assistance to take care of their family. The same is true for a legal guardianship where an elderly family member can no longer make their own decisions, but nothing is in place to allow anyone else to act for them. How can I say no to them? I can’t.”
Shirley recalls a memorable pro bono client she assisted “An older sister was caring for three younger siblings. She barely made enough money to feed and house her and her three siblings. I was able to get her appointed as their guardian to allow her to enroll them in school and make all health and financial decisions for them. She was a saint for stepping in to help her siblings rather than allowing them to be placed in a foster care situation. It made me feel great to help her reach her goals.”
For her commitment to pro bono, we honor Shirley Derke as our September Volunteer of the Month.