State Bar of Texas Blog

Pro Bono Profile - Lan Nguyen of Houston

The National Pro Bono Celebration is Oct. 25 to 31, 2009. Each weekday in October, Texas Bar Blog will feature a Texas attorney who provides pro bono services in the community. Without lawyers like these, too many of our most vulnerable citizens would go without legal representation. For more on the national celebration, visit CelebrateProBono.org.

Volunteerism is a family tradition, says Lan Nguyen. “Our parents serve, we serve, and our children will continue to serve since for each of us, a skill was endowed with an expressed obligation to serve.” For instance, shares Nguyen, her sons speak, read, and write five languages and can be found volunteering regularly as translators at several legal clinic workshops sponsored by the Houston Volunteers Lawyers Programs (HVLP).

Nguyen is committed to giving back to a community that gave so much to her family when they first arrived in the U.S. in 1975. “We immigrated to Fairhope, Alabama [from Vietnam] and people were generous with their attitudes and welcome,” says Nguyen, “that was enough to smooth our assimilation process and made that difficult period of our lives easier to handle.”

Many of Nguyen’s cases are handled with the HVLP, however she also handles cases for various local churches, temples and other non-profit groups.

Nguyen is also involved with the Vietnamese LegalLine which she founded in 2001 to help the public get simple legal advice and referrals to helpful resources. The program was established, says Nguyen, because although “Vietnamese immigrants have successfully assimilated into the general community, there are individuals who continue to struggle along the edges of the mainstream community because of the language or cultural barriers.”

Nguyen adds, “To this group of individuals the Vietnamese LegalLine was designed to assist, but to our pleasant delight we have reached more and more individuals even though they were not the ‘intended’ audience.”

Of her pro bono work, Nguyen says, “There are a lot of resources and help available when you are undertaking a pro bono case. Yes, it takes a little time, but the friendships that you make, the goodwill that you create, and the synergy that you contribute will last a lifetime. The returns are priceless.”

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Thu Lam - November 26, 2009 1:24 PM

You were always there when I needed you, but I never had a chance to say thank you. So now, "thank you very much". Even though we don't communicate a lot, because you're so busy and I'm so busy myself, but you are always there in my heart. Anyway, you are a great friend anybody could have and a pride to our Vietnamese community. May God bless you and your family always.

Lorraine Cervantes - October 24, 2009 11:22 PM

Congratulations Lan! You have so much energy and you never seem to tire. I believe its because you really love what you do. I have now known you for years and you always have a smile for everyone. You always have time to stop in the middle of what you are doing and lend a helping hand to your fellow lawyers, of course thats including me too. I truly appreciate your friendship!!!!!

Tyrone Lin - October 23, 2009 10:02 AM

I have personally worked with Lan in many regards, and she always finds a way to pull through. Great job! Well deserved!

David Swallow - October 22, 2009 3:45 PM

Lan is a fantastic attorney and a truly caring individual. I am continually amazed at her seemingly inexhaustible reserves of energy and her always cheerful demeanor. She is definitely an inspiration and an example to us all!

Bobbie Cochran - October 22, 2009 1:44 PM

Having known Lan Nguyen for the past 5 years, I cannot imagine this award going to anyone more deserving. Her energy and enthusiasm for volunteerism is contagious and genuine. It's truly amazing that one person can do all that she does. It's impossible to put into a few words the extent of her good work -- it would take chapters.

Will Denham - October 22, 2009 8:41 AM

I never blog, and I rarely read these things. But Lan is worth writing about, worth reading about, and well worth knowing. So cheers to her - and her terrific family.

Scott Nguyen - October 22, 2009 3:23 AM

I met Lan in court a few months ago, and can attest to her warm and sincere character. However, don't let her kind demeanor fool you, she is tough! Any client (paid or pro bono) is fortunate to have her on their side.

Hang Nguyen - October 21, 2009 7:31 PM

I AM PROUD OF YOU, SIS!!

Toni Pham - October 21, 2009 4:41 PM

Ms. Nguyen is a great inspiration to the rest of the legal community. I have seen her at HVLP clinics accomapnied by her son translating and think it is a wonderful testament to her talents as a lawyer and mother. My concern is how can the rest of us keep up with her let alone her sons?

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