Since our launch in 2004, The Ella Project has worked with over 400 Tulane law students who have volunteered their time with us. One of our favorite things is to see what our former student volunteers are up to. One of our favorite volunteers is Dorian Slater Thomas. Dorian worked with Ella in 2013. Currently, Dorian is an associate attorney with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC in New York City, where he is a member of the advertising group. We recently had a chance to catch up with Dorian, and here’s what he had to say about his time at The Ella Project, the importance of Pro Bono, and why these services are so important.
Ella: What are some of the people you helped, issues you worked on that stick out from your time with Ella?
Dorian: I recall reviewing various recording agreements for local artists in New Orleans. I also recall a local artist coming into the ELLA office to drop off his new album, which Ashlye had advised him on. I got the impression that this was a frequent occurrence at ELLA. That is, an artist coming in to genuinely express their gratitude for the assistance they had received. And having an impromptu album listening party.
Ella: What are you doing now?
Dorian: I’m an associate attorney at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, a firm that specializes in serving the entertainment and advertising industries. I’m a member of the advertising group, representing agencies and brands handling their advertising needs. We do everything from reviewing scripts, copy, and spots to drafting master services agreements between advertising agencies and their clients. Among other things, I negotiate talent and influencer agreements for such agencies and brands.
Ella: Are there ways your work with Ella has benefited your current career?
Dorian: ELLA taught me the importance of the personal connection between a client and an attorney. I think this is especially important when servicing clients in the creative field. When servicing clients today, I strive to nurture a genuine personal connection.
Ella: Are you involved with other pro bono organizations right now as an attorney?
Dorian: I am involved with several pro bono organizations, particularly organizations that focus on representing diverse individuals. I also believe in the importance of translating the ethos of pro bono service into my non-professional life. That is, I believe in supporting the causes in which I believe, and the people who inspire me, at the ground level. I encourage other attorneys to do so as well. Go to the premiere of that indie film. Buy the album on the merch table after the concert in the park. Take the train to Bushwick to see that new performance piece. Go to the after party.
Ella: Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
Dorian: I do (thanks Louis Armstrong). Thankfully, New Orleans is a city of ghosts; ghosts who are there waiting to welcome you back.
Dorian continues to Support The Ella Project through his membership in Attorneys For Ella. If you similarly value your time at The Ella Project, believe in Pro Bono, or just want to support our efforts, please join today.