Amy is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
Q: What sparked your interest in public service and pro bono work?
A: I have always been outwardly focused. This may have been more an accident of birth than anything else, as I was an oldest child with responsibilities for my younger siblings, but for whatever reason, my biggest strengths have always been problem solving and personal interaction, which seem to be perfect qualities for this work. I did not come from a family with lawyers in it, but I wanted to be a lawyer from a very early age, because they had the power to help others. As far as I was concerned, public service and pro bono work were what lawyers did.
A: Like so much of life, it was a happy accident. Kathy Hessler ’88, a like-minded person, told me that other schools were doing programs like what became our Public Service Fund (PSF). W&M had nothing available to support public interest work for students. We identified a need and we filled it. Together, and with the help of others, we considered what we thought we could accomplish, both in the short term and what PSF could be in the future and, acting with the support of the faculty and the administration, including Professors John Levy, Rob Kaplan, Jayne Barnard and then-Dean Sullivan, we got it off the ground.
Q: How did your time at W&M shape or encourage your commitment to public service?
A: Nothing succeeds like success, I guess. The fact that PSF was so well received was very energizing for me — and the fact that the work being done was so inspiring to others and so meaningful to those being helped.
Q: What have you found to be the most meaningful way to stay involved in the community as a lawyer?
A: Legal work is very demanding of your time. I have had periods of very significant community involvement and others when I have been less so, depending on my career demands. However, I think the key is to commit to issues and organizations that you genuinely care about – that always makes it much easier to make the time. And, though it may seem counterintuitive, given my last statement, I also try to find other ways to stay involved based solely on time commitment – like quick clinics, with real person-to-person interaction: helpful to clients, meaningful to me, and not a lot of time commitment.
Q: Do you have any advice for current law students or recent graduates who would like to continue to serve others?
A: Just do it. And don’t feel bad about yourself when your life gets in the way. Keep trying.
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