Nonprofit Law Firms Benefit Disenchanted Attorneys, ‘In-Between’ Clients

This article published originally on on Sept. 7, 2016.

Lee DiFilippo earned hefty paychecks for 13 years as a corporate transactional attorney in Big Law and later as in-house counsel to a couple of corporations.

But it wasn’t enough.

“I was pushing paper for corporate America. I was paid a lot of money. But I never felt I was doing anything that benefited anyone,” DiFilippo said.

In 2012, she found her true calling when she helped a poor woman get a divorce from an abusive husband. “I never knew there was such a need. I was always in an ivory tower in big high rises, working for firms, and I was shielded from it.”

Following her passion and joining a growing movement across the country, DiFilippo now runs a nonprofit law firm in Austin—DiFilippo Holistic Law Center—to serve people who make too much money to qualify for legal aid, but too little to afford a traditional lawyer. Previously, DiFilippo worked at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and then at Reed Smith, before going-in-house at Textron Systems and Bell Helicopter.

The growing popularity of nonprofit law firms aimed to help the “in-between” economic demographic stems, in large part, from a 2014 article in The Atlantic, which profiled Shantelle Argyle’s organization, Open Legal Services, in Salt Lake City. Argyle, co-founder and executive director of Open Legal Services, said that since then, people in 35 states have called her, and she’s consulted with two dozen to help them create nonprofits.

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Going freelance

I’ve been a professional, full-time journalist for 10 years. Most recently I was  staff reporter at Texas Lawyer, a legal-news publication owned by ALM Media Inc. But this May, I had my second son and made the decision to go back to work part time so I can spend more time raising my children. Now I’m working part time as a freelance reporter, still writing mainly for Texas Lawyer and

Cycling Lawyers Improve Their Bods and Their Business

Lawyers who want to get fit have a lot of options—running, lifting weights, cross-training, yoga. But for some attorneys, cycling is yielding more benefits than just shedding pounds.

These lawyers say that the sport fosters camaraderie and conversation, which allows them to meet new clients, get closer to existing clients and strengthen relationships with colleagues.


PDF: Cycling Lawyers Improve Their Bods and Their Business _ Law