A member of of Cozen O’Connor, Jennifer M. McHugh practices in the commercial litigation department. Between handling business litigation matters such as civil litigation and land use and zoning, Jennifer also regularly volunteers in LCD’s CLOCs.
How did you become involved with the CLOCs?
I first became involved with the Legal Clinic for the Disabled in late 1999/early 2000. As a volunteer, I try to assist clients with their estate planning needs. This is a carry-over from my previous work history and law school interests where I served as a member of the National AIDS Hotline.
Do you have any memorable moments from your volunteer work? How has your experience influenced you personally and professionally?
Each of my clients is memorable in their own way. They let you into their lives when they are most vulnerable – sometimes in the early stage of their illness and sometimes in the last stage of their illness. I have always learned something from each one and admire their generous spirit and concern for their families.
One matter stands out in particular because despite my best efforts the client refused to sign the estate planning documents I prepared. The client was terminal and lived in public housing. She was concerned that her children would not be able to stay in their home after her death. I prepared the appropriate papers but unfortunately, the client and her family refused to sign them at the last minute because they were suspicious and mistrustful about the process of opening the estate. In the words of one of her family members, “this is not how we do things here.” This engagement was even more poignant because it took place the day before Thanksgiving. At a time when most of America was looking forward to celebrating with their families and preparing their Thanksgiving meal, this client was preparing to die with the belief that a formal estate administration process would not be in the best interest of her family. I still wonder what happened to her children and if they were able to remain in their home.
I very much enjoy my work with LCD. I am most appreciative that my colleagues Evan Caplan and Peter Rossi organize and coordinate the firm’s involvement in the CLOC.
To learn more about volunteering with LCD, please click here.