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Board of Trustees Member
Annual Dinner 2009 Videos
Norma L. Urena
Volunteer of the Month
Norma UrenaKCBA's Community Legal Services has recognized Norma Urena as January's Volunteer of the Month for her work with the Newcomers Resource Project.The Newcomers Resource Project represents low-income immigrants, refugees and limited-English-proficient clients in an array of civil legal issues. Urena is being recognized for her involvement in representing immigrant clients with employment and wage claim issues and ensuring that, regardless of employee immigration status and language, employers are not successful in taking advantage of immigrant workers. Urena has been involved with the KCBA's Community Legal Services programs since 1998 when she started volunteering at the Bilingual Spanish Neighborhood Legal Clinic.She has been volunteering with the Newcomers Resource Project since January 2003, representing clients with wage claim issues.Urena stated that what interested her in becoming involved with the project's wage claim cases was her personal knowledge, from growing up as a farm worker, of how difficult the work is that her clients do. Urena's volunteer work stands out for many reasons.She has represented 10 individuals during her three years with the project, during which she has demonstrated her commitment to ensuring access to legal services to all individuals through her willingness to assist clients confronting difficult issues and cases.Urena does not just take the easy cases or clients, but instead takes on challenges and works hard for her clients, showing compassion all along the way. Urena's commitment to pro bono work is consistent and she is proactive in getting involved.When called to take a pro bono case, she seldom says no. In fact, Urena will often contact the Newcomers Resource Project to let us know she is ready for another referral. "The most appalling thing to do to someone who comes to the United States to work is to not pay them," Urena said.She also mentioned the frustration that goes along with her work.Her current wage claim client, who is homeless, is only owed a little more than $100 for work he did on a house.The hope was with a little pressure, the homeowners would just pay the money owed.But Urena had to file a lien on the house and still they are unwilling to pay. Urena commented that she feels really bad they are now at this standstill, but is also amazed that the homeowners would rather have a lien on their house than pay the $100 the client is owed.The workers whom she serves put their time and effort into a job.They are "willing to do really hard grunt work, [only] to just get slapped in the face, told sorry, we are not going to pay you." Urena also volunteers with the Family Law Mentor Program, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Snohomish County Legal Services.She graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 1994 and focuses her legal practice in family law. KCBA congratulates Norma Urena for being selected as the Community Legal Services Volunteer of the Month and thanks her for her commitment and efforts in ensuring that those who are low income have access to legal representation.