First responders traveled from near and far to attend Amazon’s most recent pro bono Wills Clinic. More than 50 Amazonians on the legal team volunteered their time for this event at Amazon’s Seattle Headquarters. Sponsored by the Washington First Responders Wills Clinic, Amazonians helped a record 110 first responders draft wills.
Jeff Morneau, a transactional lawyer, has worked at Amazon for just over five years and this is his second Wills Clinic. He assisted six first responders and their families over a period of eight hours, as did many other Amazonians on the legal team.
“This clinic really gives families, many with young children, peace of mind and lifts a burden from their shoulders.”
“We are sitting with these clients as they make very personal life decisions – the work we are doing helps them document their wishes,” explained Jeff. “This clinic really gives families, many with young children, peace of mind and lifts a burden from their shoulders.”
The majority of the first responders were police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and paramedics and many of them formerly served in the military. Although many were from Seattle and Bellevue, some traveled from as far as Bellingham, Lynwood, and Everett to attend.
Renee Maher’s husband was killed in the line of duty as a Federal Way Police Officer in 2003. As an attorney herself, she says, “I was the poster child for someone who should’ve known better to have a will sorted out.” She is now married to a Seattle Police Officer and was a guest speaker at Amazon’s event.
“Amazon created a great, comfortable situation for these families – they felt so taken care of and were so appreciative,” she explained. “For the first responders, it was special for them to meet people in the communities they serve. Also, it was not lost on them that Amazon’s General Counsel, David Zapolsky, was making sure people were taken care of.”
Lynn Radliff, an Amazon paralegal, worked as a greeter for this entire Saturday event, and met many of the attending families.
“It was a very important thing to do to make sure these families got this service for free when every day they put their lives on the line as first responders to protect the rest of us,” said Lynn. “I thanked all of them for coming as they left, but most of them said, ‘no, thank you.’”
“There was a lot of energy in the room the entire day,” added Jeff. “I really feel like I accomplished something for these families – my skills as a lawyer positively impacted someone’s day instantly and it was special and important to give back in such a tangible way.”
To learn more about the Washington First Responders Wills Clinic, click here.