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Volunteer Spotlight Published March 29, 2021

Leila Vaughan

Meet VIP’s Volunteer of the Month

VIP volunteer Leila VaughanWhen office closures forced VIP to suspend its legal clinics for Philadelphia nonprofits and small businesses, VIP developed a virtual legal consultation model to continue serving these clients. The program has been a success, thanks in large part to dedicated volunteers like Leila Vaughan.

Leila, who handles tax matters at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld and who is the founder and director of the Peace Advocacy Network, handled two VIP nonprofit matters in 2019. Since the pandemic began, Leila has stood out as a star volunteer in VIP’s virtual consultation program: she took on six such matters last year!

Leila recently shared reflections on her pro bono work with the VIP team.

Making an Impact

“In 2020, I served as the pro bono coordinator for the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Tax Section. VIP’s nonprofit consultation matters caught my attention, because the clients all seemed like they could benefit from an experienced attorney. I reached out to VIP and offered to take on as many tax-exemption and non-profit governance consultations as were needed.

“A lot of small nonprofits inadvertently run afoul of tax or governance rules. It’s sad to see nonprofits end up in costly situations because they couldn’t afford the ‘ounce of prevention’ of an attorney. Volunteering with VIP can help these organizations avoid these problems in the future.”

The Rewards of Volunteering

“For experienced practitioners, this is an easy way to help the communities we live and work in. It’s a one-hour commitment that makes a difference. All my VIP consultation clients appreciated gaining a better understanding of the system that governs them.

“In a year where we are all more isolated than usual, it has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to connect with people in the community who I might otherwise never have encountered.”

VIP thanks Leila for her commitment to helping our nonprofit clients. If you’d like to get involved in our one-hour virtual legal consultations for small businesses and nonprofits, email Evy Cruz, Nonprofit & Small Business Coordinator, at icruz@phillyvip.org.