Every month, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.’s (“SALA”) Volunteer Lawyers Program (“VLP”) recognizes a legal professional for their legal volunteerism. The award is a distinct honor and highlights the dedication and commitment of 12 individuals each year who give their valuable time and expertise to their community. Attorney Kayla Bernays (About RPB Tucson | Randle Palmer and Bernays Law Firm) is the January 2023 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award Recipient.
Kayla is a partner at Randle Palmer & Bernays, PLLC and practices family and juvenile law in the areas of: divorce, custody, grandparent’s rights, adoption, and termination of parental rights.
Kayla received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. She then went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where she was a student in the Child and Family Law Clinic and was involved in student organizations such as Arizona Law Review and Pride Law.
Kayla’s interest in family law was in some ways foreshadowed by her interest in Anthropology. While completing her degree in Anthropology, Kayla was intrigued by how people and primates relate to one another in their societies. Similarly, her interest in family law developed as an interest in the psychology of the family and how different family members interact with and relate to one another and how those dynamics change as the family structure changes.
Kayla graduated from the James E. Rogers College of Law in 2018 and soon thereafter started volunteering with the Volunteer Lawyers Program. Both of Kayla’s parents were lawyers and instilled in her early on the importance of volunteer work and giving back to the community. Kayla has volunteered for various organizations over the course of her life such as: Southern Arizona Gender Alliance and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. Now, Kayla teaches domestic relations classes to pro se litigants and volunteers in the family law clinics held by the Volunteer Lawyers Program.
When asked what part of her volunteer work with the Volunteer Lawyers Program she enjoys the most she responded that she enjoys teaching the domestic relations classes. Kayla likes being able to set the stage for what people can expect from the family court process and enjoys giving people the tools and knowledge they need to successfully navigate that process. Kayla also enjoys being the first interaction that the people taking the domestic relations classes have with an attorney and the legal system. The people who take the classes often have not had previous experiences with attorneys or the legal system and Kayla likes being able to be that first interaction and set the stage for a positive experience.
I had the pleasure of observing Kayla teach a domestic relations class and it was informative, easily digestible, and engaging – which for a class taught via Zoom we all know is no small feat! She managed to both engage with participants and make them laugh while also sensitively and adeptly navigating difficult topics like how domestic violence may impact a family law case.
We appreciate Kayla for graciously extending her time, teaching skills, and legal expertise to the Volunteer Lawyers Program and our clients. Kayla’s work with the Volunteer Lawyers Program helps make the legal system more accessible to our clients by giving them the information and tools they need to navigate the family law process without an attorney. Thank you Kayla for all that you do for our clients and the community.
By Kat Baiardi, Esq., Staff Attorney for the Volunteer Lawyers Program