As a family law attorney, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law alumna Bethany Taylor (JD ’09) loved working for her clients in court, but longed to become a bigger part of the system. For years, she worked within a firm setting providing legal services for Orange County residents, but when an opportunity presented itself to join the Orange County Superior Court’s Self-Help Center, she leapt at it.
The Self-Help Center offers resources for self-represented individuals on matters involving landlord-tenant issues, divorce and paternity, and probate issues. Staff representatives assist community members by providing general information, reviewing documents, and leading workshops on a range of topics.
“Having self-help centers to assist those self-represented parties get through their cases is a real benefit not only to them but also the court system and society as a whole,” Taylor said. “Every day is different and you have to be ready to do whatever the center’s needs dictate.”
For Taylor, who has been passionate about joining the court since starting her career, the role reaffirms her decision to pursue law.
“Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come up and take the time to thank us for helping them,” she said. “In this job, you never forget how much you can help the people around you.”
Although she has since moved on from private practice of family law, she said that it still factors greatly into the work she does at the center, and she is grateful for the introduction to the field. Before working in family law, she was an associate attorney for a medical malpractice defense firm, a position she obtained through Chapman’s On-Campus Interviews.
“I’m glad that I was in the family law firm as long as I was. It really opened the door for me to be here now,” she said. “Every day you learn something new.”