Kirkland and Ellis: Attorney Uses Her Personal Experience to Help Others

Kirkland & Ellis Associate Allison Worthy Buchner, Esq. brings a unique perspective to her work as an Alliance pro bono attorney. Allison’s daughter, Samantha, was born prematurely, and her pediatrician became concerned when Samantha was delayed in her ability to sit independently and crawl. Allison and her husband tried to secure services from the Regional Center, and there, they began their role as advocate parents.

“It’s not like anyone ever sat us down and said, ‘OK, here’s what we do, these are the services and this is what will help you,’” said Allison. When it became increasingly difficult to get her daughter qualified for therapy sessions, Allison’s natural reaction as a lawyer was to appeal and advocate. “If I hadn’t been familiar with the appeals process, I don’t know what we would have done,” said Allison. “This was a very difficult system to navigate—it wasn’t easy and I consider myself a tough litigator.”

Allison decided she wanted to help less equipped families overcome the hurdles she faced advocating for Samantha. Knowing her firm’s commitment to pro bono work, Allison turned to Kirkland partner and head of their pro bono program, Mark Cramer, who encouraged her to contact the Alliance’s Education Program and our Saltz Family Early Intervention Advocacy Center. Today, Allison is an active volunteer helping abused and neglected children get the early services they need to gain independence and to enable them to be their best selves.