Diane Steiner & Emma Brown: 2022 Pillars of Change Honorees

Diane Steiner and Emma Brown have been an instrumental grandmother/granddaughter duo to Sanctuary’s Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project (MAT/EJP). Together they tirelessly worked through backlogged referrals, providing legal information, and legal advice for specific cases. Together they have used their legal skills, passion, and dedication to assist survivors towards a life free of abuse.

Diane Steiner

After working for over 30 years as a Lawyer, Diane sought volunteer opportunities knowing she had the desire and time to give back. She stated, “I was ready to wind down from private practice and give back to the community. Sanctuary for Families is the gold standard for not for profit agencies.”

Diane’s extensive background as a Lawyer and her involvement in American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys and the International Academy of Family Lawyers, has resulted in an abundance of knowledge and resources for the MAT/EJP staff and clients. Lisa Vara, Director of the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project stated, “Her decades of experience in the field have been invaluable to us all, both in terms of discussing particular cases, but also in offering more general career advice. She has been a valuable member of our litigation team on countless complex cases, she has assisted in answering Helpline calls, particularly during the pandemic, and followed up with callers, and she has provided brief services and consultations to countless other clients.”

Diane expressed how proud she was to be working alongside the attorneys and staff that are dedicated to the mission. The appreciation shown by clients, and being able to work beside and mentor her granddaughter Emma Brown, has also been a highlight.

Emma Brown

After taking the bar exam, Emma decided to look for volunteer opportunities before heading into her corporate career. Her grandmother had spoken highly of her time with Sanctuary, and she was excited to volunteer for an organization she believed in. Like Diane, Emma supported the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project by conducting intakes, preparing uncontested divorce paperwork for clients, and assisting with various cases alongside the team.

Lauren Patel, Senior Staff Attorney, stated, “Thanks to Emma’s very valuable contributions, we were able to submit a series of motion papers throughout the summer of 2021 in a highly contested, complex matrimonial case. It was a true team effort, where every person’s contribution helped immensely.”

Emma views her volunteer experience as rewarding and a positive impact to both her and the clients she served. She states, “I believe that when there is a volunteer on a client’s case, the client feels as if their situation/issue is being heard. They feel as if someone is dedicating their free time to help them and that their issue is in fact real and important.”

Lisa and Lauren emphasized that both Emma and Diane functioned as full time staff members despite them being volunteers. They shared, “We cannot express our gratitude enough for this extremely high level of dedication to Sanctuary, our staff, and our clients.”

Thank you, Diane and Emma, for being such a dynamic duo!

To learn more about Diane & Emma’s work, please join us on April 27th from 12:30 – 1 PM at our virtual Pillars of Change.

Register on Zoom