KCMBF’s Military Matters is proud to shine the February Pro Bono Spotlight on Cecilia O’Hara.
Cecilia initially got involved with the Military Matters program upon learning that it would be equivalent to being on the juvenile appointment list. Additionally, she described that it would allow her to tailor cases to the area of law that she is most comfortable with. Cecilia is a first generation American, as both of her parents immigrated to the United States for college, so although she does not have family who has served, she has friends who have served in various branches of the military.
Cecilia explained that her experience with Military Matters so far has been great. “The clients that I have met and worked with have been so grateful and really just appreciated the help in navigating through various situations in life.”
Cecilia described her most memorable case with the program so far: “I represented a veteran in his divorce case and he and his ex-wife shared a child. I was able to work with him and his wife to come up with a step-up parenting plan so that he could begin resuming visits with his child. Eventually, my client was able to obtain employment and move into a place of his own and we were able to finalize a full divorce decree which allowed him a regular parenting schedule. To see the work my client put into himself to get to the resolution we did was amazing!”
Cecilia’s family members are accountants or CPAs and she joked that there is nothing she hates more than math. Her mom had a friend who was an attorney and Cecilia idolized her. Her mom’s friend would tell stories about her cases and how she advocated for her clients and Cecilia thought she was the most impressive person she had ever met. As she got older, Cecilia realized she wanted to help people and advocate for them, too, and law was the best way to do that.
Cecilia is a stepmom to two boys with her partner Matt. “If there is a sport out there, the boys play it or have played it at some point, so we are constantly on the go,” she said. After years of convincing from her kids, she is playing in a 'mom's hockey league' now, so in her free time, she’s either playing hockey or napping.
Cecilia’s advice to lawyers considering the program is that she would highly recommend volunteering at some point, even if you only do a case or two. She explained that the “team at KCMBF who facilitate the MM program are all great!” Further, she said the time commitment can be as much or as little as you can handle. I've had quite a few cases where I was only needed to review or help facilitate the signing of documents. “Also, the individuals that I have gotten to meet and help have all been great people and it's something so simple for us to do but makes a big difference to them,” she said.
Thank you, Cecilia, for your dedication to KCMBF’s Military Matters and to giving back!
Are you a lawyer interested in joining the Military Matters Legal Team? Would you like a chance to be featured in the Military Matters #ProBonoSpotlight? Follow this link to join Military Matters: https://legal.militarymatterskc.org/