Join us as we honor Suk Lee at this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event!
We’re about a month away from this year’s annual event! Each year, the OneJustice network meets to honor extraordinary individuals who are committed to advancing access to justice and have brought help, hope, and justice to individuals in need. Last week, we introduced you to Chris Schneider, now we’d love you to meet Suk Lee — Senior Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc., who is also one of our honorees this year!
We asked Suk to tell us more about himself and what justice means to him. Please join us in welcoming our second honoree, Suk!
Thank you for joining us, Suk! Tell us, what does “justice” mean to you?
I think “justice” means helping others who cannot help themselves. As lawyers, we are especially qualified to provide that help. I believe that we have an inherent duty to use our skill set for pro bono service. As an in-house lawyer for almost 10 years, I’ve always had an interest in pro bono work, but wasn’t sure how or where to start. I’ve served as co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee for ACC-SFBA (San Francisco Bay Area’s Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel) for the past three years, helping to coordinate (and participating in) pro bono opportunities for Bay Area in-house attorneys. It has been a professionally and personally fulfilling experience helping those with limited means and working with wonderful organizations, like OneJustice.
Folks like you really make pro bono opportunities possible — we can’t thank you enough! What is one particularly rewarding experience you have been involved with?
In 2015, I participated in two Justice Bus events, the first to Greenfield in Monterey County and the second to Modesto. For both trips, we assisted applicants with their DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and citizenship papers. Getting on a bus and visiting a rural community was a new experience for me. I grew up in urban areas, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a farming community. I was amazed at how something as simple as helping someone complete an application form could have a significant impact on people’s lives. This was an important part of their ability to work and support their families. It was particularly meaningful to me, because I vividly recall my parents going through the citizenship process when I was 11 years old.
We couldn’t agree more! Just one document has the ability to transform someone’s life. Now, tell us more about how you became involved with OneJustice?
In 2014, I attended the Opening Doors to Justice event, and Julia Wilson’s words about the disparity in legal services in rural communities stuck with me. Later that year, my colleague Pamela Ostroff and I started an initiative to make pro bono an integral part of Electronic Arts culture and identity, and a Justice Bus trip was an ideal pro bono opportunity to kick off our initiative. Because volunteers were not required to be attorneys, all members of the Electronic Arts legal department were able to participate and contribute. The great first pro bono experience inspired participants to volunteer again. We had our third Justice Bus trip in May 2016, with many repeat volunteers. I expect that Justice Bus trips will become a regular part of Electronic Arts’ pro bono activities.
That’s wonderful to hear — and we’re very excited about EA’s upcoming Justice Bus trip to Tracy! Last but not least, who is your favorite social justice hero and why?
My heroes are all the volunteers who take the plunge for the first time to do pro bono work. There is a certain amount of anxiety and apprehension you have to overcome to go outside of your comfort zone, both literally and figuratively. Often, you are helping in a substantive area of law that is outside of your field of expertise or training. I admire and appreciate those that make the commitment to pro bono, and in doing so, inspire others to get involved.