VIP: Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono

Each month, The Veterans Consortium recognizes a “VIP” – Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono. TVC values all our volunteers and wishes to recognize those who inspire others.


Rene Kalawatha, Esq.


Rene Kalawatha, Esq.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps

Our TVC Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) has not actually taken a TVC case himself, but as Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's firmwide pro bono counsel, Rene Kathawala is responsible for motivating close to two dozen attorneys to take our CAVC training. Our TVC Volunteer training took place in October 2019 in DC and was webcast to Orrick’s offices in New York, Houston, Orange County, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Orrick  attorneys  had  taken  a  few  pro  bono  cases  from  TVC  in  2016,  but  it wasn’t until Rene worked with Mike Kail, our Director of Strategic Operations, to  formalize  our  relationship,  that  the  partnership  took  off.  With  Rene’s enthusiasm for our program and his leadership and commitment to pro bono service, Orrick became a TVC Core Mission Partner. After the October training, a remarkable 85% of these new volunteers promptly took a case. To date, all outcomes have been successful with three cases pending.

As Orrick's firmwide pro bono counsel, Rene is responsible for managing and initiating  the  firm's  pro  bono  activities,  including  all  administrative  and  legal aspects. Rene works with other pro bono counsel and legal service nonprofits to increase the quantity and quality of pro bono representation in the firm. He also supervises and works directly on cases in areas such as immigration law, family and matrimonial law, housing law, public benefits law, employment law counseling, impact litigation and nonprofit advice and counseling.

“I  am  inspired  by  the  work  of  TVC  to  promote  access  to  justice  for  low- income  veterans,  and  of  my  colleagues  for  taking  on  and  successfully representing  so  many  deserving  clients  in  such  a  short  time  period.  Our relationship  with  TVC  is  a  win-win.  TVC  does  a  fabulous  job  screening, referring  and  mentoring  our  attorneys,  and  through  this  partnership,  we are able to expand our impact to positively change the lives of our veteran clients.”

Rene Kathawala,
Pro Bono Counsel
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has a firmwide, long-standing commitment to social justice and impact. Nearly 100 percent of their U.S. lawyers contributed at least 20 hours of pro bono service in 2019. Orrick is also strongly committed to supporting veterans and their spouses, and advocates for the veteran community in many ways. Most notably, they sponsor an annual career fair devoted exclusively to veterans, active-duty service members preparing for a transition out of the military, and military spouses. It is the only legal career fair in the United States devoted exclusively to veterans.

“As soon as I met Rene, it was clear that TVC had an ally who would be a model for others. His superb academic credentials are matched by a demonstrated commitment to pro bono activities in the form of an active, personal pro bono case load. Moreover, he is just a joy to work with: responsive, energetic, enthusiastic. TVC is so fortunate to have Rene and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in its corner.”

Mike Kail
TVC Director of Strategic Operations


Past VIPs