Attorney Liz Billies first found her passion for family law when she was studying at Villanova University. Billies was working as a student attorney for a civil justice clinic during the second summer of her law school career. Most of the cases the clinic took on involved family law.
Billies says that her first client was a terminally ill cancer patient who passed away while she was representing her.
“You think that would put me off on it, but I liked the human interaction,” said Billies. “You want to help people.” she said.
Now, a partner at Dischell Bartle Dooley, she provides her expertise to those who need it, divorce being one of her main areas of focus.
“They think we’re sharks,” Billies said on people’s perceptions of divorce lawyers. But for her, that’s not the case. It’s her job to help people start the next chapters of their lives.
This also comes in the form of volunteering at the local Second Saturday Divorce Workshops at Montgomery County Community College.
The Second Saturdays were founded by Ginita Wall and Candace Bahr in 1988, who franchised the concept in 2014. Financial Planner Tim Seiders began running the program locally in Montgomery County. He approached Billies to volunteer her time to the workshop.
The four-hour workshop, primarily geared towards women, is offered on the second Saturday of every month and is broken into segments led by a family law attorney, a Certified Financial Planner licensee and a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Billies volunteered in October and is preparing for her second round on Dec. 10. She said that she finds that women can be disadvantaged in the divorce process, because many have not been given the tools or opportunities for financial freedom or financial literacy.
She finds that many of the women who come into the workshop are scared.
“They’re scared of the unknown,” she said.
“If I had the ability to allay some of that fear for an hour and a half of my time, a couple times a year, I’m more than happy to do that.”
Billies’s favorite part of the workshop is answering questions. Some of the women attending are in the beginning stages of divorce or haven’t even told their spouse that they’re thinking about it. Others already have an attorney and are just looking for supplemental information.
Her presentation serves as a primer on family law and the divorce process.
“When I can answer someone’s question and see that I fixed that for them, it’s very rewarding.” Billies said.
The reception to the Second Saturday workshops has been positive. She said that most of the attendees are looking to meet other women who are going through the same thing. They want to know they aren’t alone.
“It’s a great program, Tim’s put a lot of work into it, I give him a lot of credit,” said Billies. “I wish there were more groups like this out there.”
Read more about the local Second Saturdays and how to attend Billies’s workshop on Dec. 10 here.