Spring 2010-#3. Vermont Bar Association Crowns Kingdom Attorney Douglas Willey with Pro Bono Award.

Authorby Mary C. Ashcroft, Esq.

Vermont Bar Journal


Spring 2010-#3.

Vermont Bar Association Crowns Kingdom Attorney Douglas Willey with Pro Bono Award

THE VERMONT BAR JOURNALVolume 36, No.1Spring 2010Vermont Bar Association Crowns Kingdom Attorney Douglas Willey with Pro Bono Awardby Mary C. Ashcroft, Esq.It is no accident that Attorney Doug Willey's law office in St. Johnsbury is a quick walk across Main Street to the Caledonia Courthouse. As public defender for Caledonia and neighboring Essex Counties, he spends a lot of time in court-and helps a lot of people. Doug's dedication to serving others has won him both the respect of his peers and this year's VBA Pro Bono Service Award.

The law office of Willey and Power is comfortable and unpretentious, like the legal team within. Doug's wife and office manager Cindy shares the downstairs with investigator Joseph "Chip" Troiano. Attorney Susan Price also has office space in the old Victorian building, as does the Vermont Land Trust and their friendly black lab. A winding staircase leads to Doug's second floor office.

It was a similarly winding and uphill path that led Doug Willey to Vermont and into the practice of law. Willey's father was an Army career man, so his young son traveled the world. Doug was born in Austria and spent time in Japan and Washington State before finishing high school in Pennsylvania in 1969. He joined the Marine Corps soon after, but a back injury caused by a training accident cut short that career. Doug headed to the University of Illinois in Chicago where he graduated in 1976 with a BA in sociology, a course of study he terms "fascinating."

During college, Willey worked at a local hospital doing crisis intervention. He then moved to Connecticut to use his new degree helping juvenile delinquents reintegrate into society. "This was a raw group of kids," he said. His program offered one of the only positive support groups at the time for these young men.

Willey moved to Vermont in 1977, putting down roots where his father had been raised. At first, Doug worked in the woods and as a carpenter, but when he stepped off a pickup truck the wrong way and sustained another injury, he started thinking about a new career. After studying for his paralegal degree at Woodbury College, Doug worked as an investigator in the Northeast Kingdom for various attorneys and public defenders. These...

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