Attorney of the Month Award for Pima County
By Michele Mirto
Dean Mieczkowski has been selected as the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for August. Dean joined the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) of Southern Arizona Legal Aid in September of 2011. Over the last three years Dean has become a regular in the program’s Domestic Relations Clinic, where he has already assisted 100 clients. Dean is patient with clients and spends the time necessary to ensure that all of the clinic participants understand what is required in order for them to file their case. The VLP staff enjoys working with Dean and are grateful that he is part of the VLP.
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 Dean Mieczkowski
Where are you from? Ithaca, New York.
Where did you go to college? Cornell University
Where did you go to law school? University of Virginia
How long have you lived in Tucson? Since 2005.
What are your current practice areas? I work mostly on commercial real estate transactions and the related business and financing work.
What drives you to volunteer with VLP? When volunteering, you run into a lot of good people that are doing what they can for themselves and their families, and it is nice to be able to give them the help they need.
Anyone you would like to acknowledge for contributing to your legal career / pro bono service? I volunteer in family law and often run into some client questions that are a little unusual. As a result, I usually end up stopping in to talk over some of the questions with the wonderful people who work at SALA and who are always happy to help, particularly Anthony Wisz and Socorro Diaz. And Randi Burnett while she was there when I started volunteering. I’d also like to acknowledge my boss, Sid Kohn, who is very tolerant of me leaving the office to volunteer, sometimes with unfortunate timing.
A great anecdote from your VLP experiences? I do not have any great stories, but a short while ago I was stopped at a store by someone who was in a clinic I gave. She said she remembered me and she thanked me for doing the clinic – that gave me a big smile.
Other VLP volunteers you'd like to give a shout-out to? I have sat in on a number of clinics at VLP to gain a little more experience, and every single attorney who volunteers there does a terrific job and each one has had extra time for my own picky follow up questions after the clients have left.
Favorite Tucson restaurant? Every once in a while a burger from Zinburger really hits the spot.
Things you do when not working or volunteering your legal services? My wife and I have two terrific daughters, 3 years and 2 years, and they keep us pretty busy. I haven’t given up on all my hobbies yet, though, and I still get out bicycling when I find the time.
Favorite song? My daughters make sure that “Let It Go” is running through my head most of the time lately, favorite or not.