Board Member and Volunteer Helps Single Mother

Attorney Brian Dunphy is a valuable member of VLP as a volunteer attorney, a coordinator of the statewide Civil Appeals clinic, a donor, and a board member. Attorney Dunphy gives time to VLP because he feels “a responsibility to help people.” Recently, Attorney Dunphy used his legal knowledge to help a Family Law client with an appeal. The client shares a 7 year-old child with a man currently incarcerated for a string of violent crimes, including manslaughter and attempting to harm a police officer. The father was granted visitation of the child, even though the father has been incarcerated out of state for most of the child’s life. The father and child do not have a strong relationship, and both the client and her child expressed fear of the father.

The client came to the Appeals Clinic hoping to appeal the visitation, where she met Attorney Dunphy. After hearing the client’s story, Attorney Dunphy believed there was merit for appeal based on the Family and Probate Court not properly applying the best interest of the child legal standard. Attorney Dunphy, along with Attorneys Christine Paradiso, Patrick McDonagh, and Erica Coray, worked on an appeal to argue that the father should not have any visitation rights. The original decision was not only overturned, but parental rights for the father were terminated. The client and her child feel safer because of the hard work of Attorney Dunphy. Volunteers like Brian Dunphy are a rare find, and VLP feels incredibly fortunate to count someone so dedicated and altruistic as a volunteer and supporter.

Volunteering has been a two-way street for me

“I volunteer because of the opportunity to use my legal skills to help those who are unable to obtain legal representation otherwise. Clients are very grateful for the help of volunteers because otherwise the legal system can seem quite daunting and complex to them. Volunteering has been a two-way street for me — not only do I help clients with their legal woes, but being a newly admitted attorney I get to take on interesting cases, receive training and mentorship from senior lawyers, interact with and represent clients, and be challenged everyday in every way.” — VLP volunteer