Attorney of the Month Award for Pima County
By Michele Mirto
Denice Shepherd has been selected as the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for April. Denice began volunteering with the VLP in 1997. Denice represents clients in minor guardianship, wills and probate matters. Denice is also a frequent participant in the VLP’s Minor Guardianship Clinic where she supervises law students as they meet with unrepresented clients at their guardianship hearings in Probate Court. With her guidance, the students explain the proceedings and review the client’s file to ensure that the paperwork is in order and that all of the legal requirements have been met. Students then have the opportunity to appear before the Court and offer the court their recommendation as to whether the client should be awarded guardianship.
In addition, Denice serves as a mentor to volunteer attorneys and VLP staff members. She always makes herself available to answer questions, provide advice and offer support. With Denice’s help, the VLP is able to serve more clients in need. The VLP staff is grateful for her support and friendship.
The VLP’s monthly award is a distinct honor: of the 1,100 attorneys who volunteer their time with VLP, only 12 receive the VLP’s Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney award each year.
Q & A with Denice Shepherd
Where are you from? I was born in Texas.
Where did you go to college? I was an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I'm a Cornhusker.
Where did you go to law school? I went to law school at U of A so I'm also a Wildcat.
How long have you lived in Tucson? I moved to Tucson to go to law school in 1981.
What is the history of your practice of law? I have dabbled in just about every type of law except patent law and securities.
What are your current practice areas? I practice elder law and I am a licensed fiduciary.
What drives you to volunteer with VLP? Socorro does not take no for an answer, and I like working with the clients.
One reason you would encourage attorneys to volunteer with VLP? There is a lot of personal satisfaction in helping someone who would have no where else to turn but for your help.
Favorite Tucson restaurant? That is difficult as there are so many.
Things you do when not working or volunteering your legal services? I am on the Board of the Reid Park Zoological Society, so when I am not volunteering, I am volunteering.
If this award was accompanied by prize money, how would you spend it? Oh my gosh! Is it! How much? Of course I would donate it back to SALA.
Best thing about being an attorney in Tucson? The legal community is so much more pleasant to work with than anywhere else.
Worst thing about being an attorney in Tucson? A trial during the summer.
Things that you wish were closer to your office? Hawaii
Any hidden talents? I am not sure I am talented, but I enjoy making jewelry, painting, sewing and other crafts.
Are you a dog or a cat person? Definitely dogs and if you don't believe that, ask my rescues, Blackie and Pugslee.
Food you can't live without? Chocolate
Any bad habits? Too many to mention.
Best vacation destination? Anywhere there is no cell phone coverage.