Toll: On that issue, I give credit to my parents and extended family. I was raised to give back. Volunteering is a very important activity in my family, and one of the main reasons I went to law school was to help people.
At Harvard Law School, one of my most valuable experiences was at a public defender clinic in my third year, where we represented indigent residents of Boston in criminal trials under clinical supervision – which was a really great experience. I initially started my career at a different law firm. Prior to coming to King & Spalding, I was a public defender for the state of Maryland for four years, which was a great experience. It gave me firsthand exposure to how compelling the needs of indigent people are, especially in urban areas. When I was looking to come back to private practice, I wanted to come to a firm with a very strong pro bono program, and King & Spalding fit that bill.
Editor: I’m so glad that you landed there and that we were able to talk today. King & Spalding has an enviable record of pro bono achievement. Who at the firm originally inspired such dedication to pro bono service?
Toll: Pro bono has always been deeply embedded in the firm’s culture. I have seen that every day over the eight years I have been with the firm. The late Judge Griffin Bell was a major figure in the firm’s culture as a former judge, former attorney general of the United States, and a mentor to many at this firm. I know how much he emphasized pro bono and giving back. It was something that he demonstrated by example. His spirit really lives on here at the firm and is reflected in the pro bono work that we do.
Editor: How is it organized throughout your many offices?
Toll: I’m the pro bono counsel and have overall leadership of the firm’s pro bono program. We have a firmwide pro bono committee that’s made up of myself, our community affairs director Linda Parrish, and the pro bono chairs in each U.S. office.
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