My Life So Far: Pro-Bono Attorney Colleen MacAlister

Lawyers who give 100 hours of free legal services a year are considered exceptional, so Colleen MacAlister is exceptional — three times over.

MacAlister logged 643 hours of probono work in 2007 and 2008, helping low-income clients with issues from foreclosure rescue programs and landlord-tenant issues to driver’s license tangles and theft from elderly parents.

“She’s a very determined litigator and highly skilled person who wants the absolute best results she can get for her clients,” says Jeffrey Ahren, Legal Aid Service of Collier County pro-bono coordinator and development officer. “She works extremely hard.”

MacAlister will be honored with the organization’s Attorney of the Year award for 2008 at its fundraiser on April 23 in Naples.

Ask MacAlister about her cases and she’ll tell you, in detail, what happened and what she did to help her clients. You can tell she relishes the challenge – and cares about the results – by the passion in her voice.

“I’m not afraid to take a case that requires a long-term commitment,” she says, sitting in her Naples office on a weekday afternoon. “Because not every case is settled easily or simply and because some of the cases that are the most compelling to take are complicated.”

What follows is MacAlister’s story in her own words. Read more…