Each month we highlight an individual working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. This month features Paul S. Lee, an original member of our Young Lawyer’s Network Leadership Council, founded in 2011.
Steptoe & Johnson
Pro Bono Counsel
Years on the Job
2 Weeks! (7.5 years prior as Pro Bono Counsel at Dechert)
Where did you grow up?
Early years in NYC, high school/college in NC.
What was your first job in DC and what did you learn?
The Coalition for Residential Education. I learned the importance of connecting people (in this case, educators) who do similar things, who think they’re operating alone.
One item from your Bucket List?
Skydiving. (I’ve already bungee jumped.)
You get to paint a mural on the side of the White House. What do you paint?
Pre-2016, something showing off DC’s beauty, but also its lack of representation.
Biggest failure and what you learned?
Losing out on a job I thought was perfect for me, only to get something better in the long run. The universe’s self-correction mode.
Most rewarding element of your work?
When an attorney raves to me about a recent win or great pro bono experience, and knowing they’re hooked.
List three main challenges you faced early on in your career.
Often working in departments of one or two, being younger than most of my colleagues, and dealing with leadership that did not understand the nuts and bolts of an organization.
Your dream for our legal system is…
Increased government funding for legal aid, not tethered to political motivation.
The most pressing civil legal aid issue in DC is…
The shrinking supply of affordable housing.