Outstanding CBA volunteer: Patricia Hebert

By CBA/ABC National April 18, 201818 April 2018

Outstanding CBA volunteer: Patricia Hebert


CBA National: What is your main motivation for giving back as a CBA volunteer?

Patricia Hebert: In my chosen area of focus, family law, I enjoy helping families get through tough times with a view to a better future. I have come to learn how important it is to choose the right processes to help families succeed and children to have happy healthy environments. In litigation, mediation, and collaborative family law, I can help one family at a time. By volunteering to find paths to make the law, processes and practices better, I can have a role in impacting many families at once and over a span of time. We also have stronger voices as a cohesive legal profession interested in positive change. We can do so much more together than we can as individuals. 

N: We’ve all heard the saying, “Be the change you wish to see.” What is it that you want to achieve by giving your time to the CBA?

PH: I try to live up to this motto!! I am most frustrated by those who have many complaints about the system or the law, and who have the means to do something about it, but choose instead to spend their energy only on complaints. Let’s do more! As lawyers, we have gotten here through a lot of hard work but also, for most of us, through the privilege of having physical and mental health, and having families and communities that supported us to succeed. I believe we have an obligation to use that privilege productively. My parents did that, without ever calling it volunteering - it was just identifying a need that you have some ability to help meet and then doing something about it. In times when we have capacity to assist others, we can squander it or we can use it in many big and little ways. Do what you can do. Find a way. The CBA has been a great vehicle for me.

N: Has anything surprised you in what you've taken away from the experience?

PH: When I first started doing work that ended up in the media, I was so shocked to read the on-line  comments about how people perceive lawyers to be interested only in their own client or their own income. That floored me. I have continually found colleagues, from across the country and from very different life and practice experiences, who have come to the table and given many hours with a generous desire to help people they will never meet. We bring many diverse experiences but it is very rewarding to find, in my CBA colleagues, people with the same commitment to make a difference and to make things better just because it is the right thing to do. Maybe I don’t meet many of those lawyers people are commenting about, or maybe those lawyers are just the perception from American TV! 

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