SALT LAKE CITY — May 5, 2023 Today, Parsons Behle & Latimer (Parsons) associate attorney Alex Vandiver was honored at the Utah State Bar Law Day Awards luncheon and presented the Pro Bono Publico Young Lawyer of the Year award. The award demonstrates Vandiver’s dedication to her family’s sustained legacy of advocacy for those in the Utah community seeking immigration and legal assistance.
According to the Utah State Bar, the Pro Bono Publico Awards recognize those who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services, free of charge, for Utah’s most vulnerable citizens, including people living in poverty, individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors, minorities, self-represented people and victims of domestic violence.
Vandiver was acquainted early in life with providing service to others, primarily through her father – a Peruvian immigrant who helped found the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to provide resources to the Hispanic community. During law school, Vandiver was a Pro Bono Initiative Fellow, overseeing and managing several of University of Utah S.J. Quinney of Law legal clinics that provided free brief legal consultation to low-income communities throughout the Salt Lake valley. Prior to joining Parsons, Vandiver also worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Solicitor and Utah Legal Services’ Specialized Unit for Migrant Farm Workers.
Vandiver says she counsels clients every day, but the feeling of assisting a pro bono client who can truly feel desperate, is very different. Those clients are often relieved that someone is listening to their problem who can help give them direction, she says. “Many attorneys come into the legal field thinking they’re going to change the world and help people, but somewhere along the way many lose sight of their priorities. Doing pro bono work – extending a hand to those who need it most – feels good. It is difficult to find time, but it can be done. It’s good for the soul and good for the community. You learn so much and it gives you a new perspective,” she says.
Vandiver credits Parsons’ policy of incorporating 50 pro bono hours for each associate to include in their billable requirements with her ability to do what she does, saying without the firm’s encouragement and support, it would be impossible. Juliette P. White Parsons’ director and vice president says, “We are thrilled that Alex is being recognized by the Utah State Bar for her longstanding and remarkable pro bono work. Alex is an outstanding attorney with a sophisticated understanding of the needs of her clients and of the larger legal community, and she never hesitates to work hard for both.”
Vandiver says individuals need to take initiative to assist in the community, but leaders within their own companies also need to step up and make these policies standard protocol for their employees. “I feel like there is so much more to be done,” says Vandiver. “I wish we could all do more.”
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