Dominic Paris, Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P
Dominic Paris, Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P.
Legal Aid Services of Oregon
Dominic Paris has always been interested in access to justice issues. Dominic spent his 2L summer at Legal Aid Services of San Diego, working primarily with victims of domestic violence. According to Dominic, "While there, I realized how many people needed attorneys...but couldn't afford to pay for one on their own. The clinic was chronically understaffed and we needed all the help we could get."
Dominic received his JD from the University of Texas School of Law, where most of his coursework focused on business and tax. Dominic currently works for Kell, Alterman & Runstein L.L.P., where his practice focuses on a wide variety of tax related business matters. Dominic began volunteering for LASO's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in 2014, shortly after passing the bar exam. Dominic continues to take on pro bono cases in his private practice.
We greatly appreciate Dominic's dedication to pro bono work and passion to make a difference in the lives of his low-income clients by advocating for their legal rights.
What kind of pro bono work are you involved in?
As a tax attorney, I work with the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. I primarily help people with state or federal tax collections, but also assist low income taxpayers with audits and tax court litigation.
Did you learn any new skills during your experience?
Too many to count. Prior to volunteering, I had never had any meaningful interactions with the IRS or the Oregon Department of Revenue. I had a lot to learn about how to navigate a dysfunctional bureaucracy. Through my pro bono work, I've had the opportunity to develop some expertise in areas like administrative law and tax court litigation.
Why do you feel it's important for you to do pro bono work? What motivates you?Too many Oregonians are unable to afford to pay for an attorney when their rights are being violated. I find it particularly upsetting when a state agency, like the Oregon Department of Revenue, abuses the citizens it's supported to be serving. Even though the Department's actions can cause serious financial hardship, most taxpayers aren't aware of their rights and simply give up. It motivates me to know that I can make a difference in the way the system works and help people assert their rights.
Would you recommend pro bono with LASO to others?
Of course! Oregon, unlike many other states, does not have a pro bono requirement for attorneys. That means we rely heavily on volunteers to step in and provide legal services to underserved populations. Even if you only take a single case a year, it can make a huge difference.
Statewide Volunteer Opportunities:
ProBonoOregon Listserv: Legal service offices around the state post cases to this listserv one time per week. An attorney who is interested in accepting a pro bono opportunity contacts the listing office for full case information. This project allows pro bono attorneys to take a pro bono case when it fits best with their schedule. You must sign-up for the Oregon Advocates website to join the listserv. If not a member, click here. Once signed up as a member, suscribe as a listserv user here.
Statewide Tax Clinic: The Statewide Low Income Taxpayer Clinic provides advice and representation to low income clients who have a tax controversy with the IRS and related cases with the Oregon Department of Revenue. Cases cover a range of state and federal personal income tax issues. Volunteer opportunities are also available for recent graduates and new members of the Bar. For more information, contact Sarah Lora at email@example.com.
The Family Law Project: Connecting Family Law Attorneys to clients across the state via Skype or Zoom Meeting for a document review or family law consultation. Click on the "SignUp.com" button below to volunteer. For more information, contact Heather Kemper at firstname.lastname@example.org.