Justin Elder

Class of '03

Place of service: King County Bar Association Justice Project

Why I Serve

I serve because I have skills that can be of use to people who need them.  I volunteer my time doing pro bono services because there is a huge unmet need for legal services. While ideally I would have made meeting those needs my fulltime job, oddly enough, public service law jobs, low salaries and all, are very hard to come by, so I volunteer when I can. What attracted me to eviction defense for my main pro bono service was that eviction is a very well-defined statutory process with a quick learning curve, and the effect that it has upon my pro bono clients is both immediate and life-changing.

How I Serve

I represent indigent defendants in eviction cases. What led me to the Housing Justice Project in particular was a combination of things. First of all, it is a very well-organized program that is able to leverage its expertise to help a very large number of people. However, the main reason I volunteer with Housing Justice Project is that when I met with King County Bar Association’s pro bono staff several years ago and I asked where the greatest need was, they said, “Eviction defense in south King County.” Although my office is just a five minute walk from the main King County courthouse (where Housing Justice Project also operates), once a month I drive down to the branch courthouse in Kent that has jurisdiction over the southern suburbs, which is where much of the poverty in King County is situated.