Angela Vigil, Baker & McKenzie’s Director of Pro Bono and Community Service for North America, is quiet, demure and shy. . . NOT!
Anyone who has ever met Angela knows that she has a big personality. While she sometimes excuses her behavior by explaining, with expansive hand gestures, that she’s Italian, the likely force driving Angela is her passion. Angela is passionate about her work, children, the law, teaching and pro bono, but not necessarily in that order.
Angela’s primary job is to get Baker attorneys, from all of their nine North American offices, to do pro bono. It’s not an easy job. These are very busy attorneys, and pro bono work can be far outside of their comfort zones. It’s Angela’s job to find appropriate opportunities to lure even the most resistant attorney into her pro bono net.
That’s where her energy, passion and personality come into play. A force to be reckoned with, Angela spreads a wide net of significant projects and activities that make the best use of the skills, knowledge and time of firm professionals. She combined attorneys from corporate, intellectual property, real estate, labor, tax and international commercial law to assist Women for Women International in a variety of legal projects. The firm hosts naturalization projects in partnership with attorneys and paralegals from Abbott Laboratories, Baxter International and Caterpillar, Inc. and helps victims of predatory lending through the Center for Elder and Disability Law.
Teaching, another of Angela’s passions, provides a boost to her efforts at spreading pro bono around North America. Among other activities, Angela is a training instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), a legal advocacy skills training program. As a NITA instructor, she vibrantly demonstrates trial advocacy skills. Watching her cover a mock courtroom conducting a virtual cross examination, she combines well-chosen words with spot-on body language to fully engage her audience. While she is fun to watch in her basic black courtroom suit accented by drop dead killer high heels, she is also extremely effective.
This past fall, Angela was one of the NITA instructors who donated her time and considerable talents to train legal service attorneys to be NITA instructors. She also enlisted an experienced group of Baker & McKenzie attorneys to help. Not only was the training extremely valuable for the attorneys who attended, it will be leveraged, as pro bono is meant to do, when this group goes on to train other legal aid attorneys in the future.
Although Chicago legal aid attorneys don’t cross paths with Angela too often her home base is in Miami these days her work is important to all of us. A cheerleader for legal aid, she is well-respected and well-liked. She is also fun. And in our business, that’s important. Our work is hard and can be depressing. We need a boisterous, rowdy and hilarious advocate to help us spread pro bono across the country, preferably one with Italian hand gestures and killer high heels.