Denver Bar Association
March 2012
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Pro Bono Spotlight: Ida Escobedo-Betson

by Natalie Lucas

 

Escobeda-Betson Escobeda-Betson

 

I



n 1994, Ida Escobedo-Betson walked into the Thursday Night Bar, a Denver Bar Association organization that provided volunteer legal services to walk-in clients, and she’s been serving people in need ever since. The Thursday Night Bar has evolved into Metro Volunteer Lawyers, and Escobedo-Betson has developed into a strong and dependable advocate for less fortunate community members. 

The third-generation Colorado native attended undergraduate and law school at the University of Denver. For most of her 19-year career, Escobedo-Betson has worked as a solo practitioner focusing on family law.

Her sister Barbara Corneau, who is also an attorney, encouraged her to start volunteering with the Thursday Night Bar once she began practicing.

In addition to her private practice, Escobedo-Betson takes three to four pro bono cases every month. She often helps clients who are going through a very emotional time, dealing with issues such as child custody disputes.

"I enjoy helping people, and making sure they are treated fairly," Escobedo-Betson said. "It gives me a lot of satisfaction; I am proud of the work."

It’s a true commitment: Escobedo-Betson once spent more than 100 hours on one pro bono case.

She volunteers through MVL and Colorado Legal Services. Her pro bono cases have involved other family law matters such as child support and divorce. In addition to courtroom representation, Escobedo-Betson said her cases often entail helping clients navigate matters such as housing, social services, counseling, and benefit programs, such as the Low-income Energy Assistance Program, known as LEAP.

She also has volunteered with Lawline 9, a program of 9News and the DBA, answering the legal questions of callers once or twice a month for 18 years. Additionally, she has served as a guardian ad litem.

Through her pro bono work, Escobedo-Betson has obtained significant practical experience. Escobedo-Betson has become familiar with court personnel and judges. "The judges really appreciate [volunteers’] work," she said.

Escobedo-Betson’s pro bono work, although unpaid, has led to career opportunities. Judges will sometimes appoint her to serve as a court and family investigator, and she has made many networking connections through other volunteer attorneys.

Dianne Van Voorhees, the executive director of MVL, said that Escobedo-Betson is a "true dynamo. She is always willing to help, and she is a wonderful mentor to other attorneys."

Escobedo-Betson said she welcomes the opportunity to show any interested attorneys the ropes.

She is not planning on stopping her volunteer work any time soon and noted there is a significant need for pro bono volunteers in the Denver legal community.

Escobedo-Betson encourages attorneys to volunteer through MVL and CLS. "They are fantastic organizations, and they are great people to work with," she said.

If you are interested in getting more information or becoming a volunteer for the Metro Volunteer Lawyers Family Law Court Program, you can contact Veronica Mabry-James, at vmabry@denbar.org or (303) 866-9375. Learn more about MVL at metrovolunteerlawyers.org.

Veronica Mabry-James, who works with Escobedo-Betson through the MVL Family Law Court Program, said Escobedo-Betson "has dedicated her time and herself to those who cannot afford legal services—especially the children."

"She has a huge heart," Mabry-James added. "She helps people often during a time of high emotions and fear, and she helps them to get closure." D


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