Her official title is Senior Attorney in the Children and Families Practice Group at LAF, but Rachel A. Heaston calls herself something else when she’s musing over the bigger picture: a “steward of the world.” Like many others, Rachel has worked hard and she has achieved much, but instead of resting on her laurels, Rachel believes in paying it forward. “I think if everybody could just reach back and help someone,” she says, “then society will function better.”
“As a Family Law attorney, one of the things that I do is help victims of domestic violence get out of violent situations and develop the means to support themselves once they have separated from their spouses. Many times, the husband is the breadwinner and makes a decent amount of money. My client is either under-employed, or has been a stay-at-home mom for the length of the marriage. So it’s really important that we make sure not only that the client is safe, but that she is able to support herself financially once the divorce is finalized. One of the things I’m proud of is being able to make sure that people are not only physically safe, but they are able to lead productive lives, take care of themselves, and provide a roof over their heads and their children’s heads once the divorce is finalized.”
Never content to turn the other cheek, Rachel wants to see more of an invested responsibility in fairness in our daily lives: “If you have something that you believe you fought for, that you deserve, it does not mean that someone you perceive to be less than you does not deserve that as well. I think one of the problems we have as society is that, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘I have this because I worked hard.’ And probably you do, but everybody is where they’re at because someone along the line helped them get there. Everybody has a right to have a roof over their head, to be well educated, to be safe and secure, to have access to affordable healthcare so they can be physically and mentally healthy.”
For far too many people these things are not possible without help from their community. And LAF is an especially important part of that community.
“We are helping people in poverty get access to legal services,” Rachel summarizes, “I’m proud of what we do.”