Chief Counsel for Real Estate, Koch Industries
Healing4Heroes Pro Bono Counsel and Koch Pro Bono Committee Member
Growing up on a farm in Asbury, Alabama, ingrained a deep sense of community in Jeremy Hilsman, who says families would always give food or clothing to help rural neighbors who had fallen on hard times.
Now the Koch Industries Chief Counsel for Real Estate is using his legal skills to give back, supporting Healing4Heroes, a nonprofit that trains rescue dogs as service animals to assist veterans recovering from injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“There is nothing more self-actualizing to me and my job than helping others,” says Jeremy, who recently lost his own dogs and whose boyfriend serves in the military. “This is where I get my emotional return as a human, when someone smiles at you, says thank you or someone cries.”
Starting his day at 4:30 a.m., Jeremy often grabs the chance to work on zoning and permissions for the complex Healing4Heroes is building, complete with kennels, training areas, housing and event facilities. By his estimate, his legal efforts could eventually total around 100 hours of pro bono work.
Koch’s strong commitment to pro bono gives its lawyers a vital chance to make a huge difference in projects they support, says Jeremy, who previously worked with the Georgia Justice Project to help people clear their records. But volunteering also yields benefits for his day job, he says, by helping him become a more empathetic, and ultimately a more skillful, lawyer.
“This pro bono work will humanize you,” says Jeremy, urging attorneys to team up with mentors if they are hesitant about their ability to help out. “I’d hate to see people missing these incredible opportunities.”