As Pro Bono Counsel, Ellyn Josef coordinates and manages Vinson & Elkins' pro bono initiatives. Based in the Houston office, Ellyn supervises all firm-wide pro bono activities and committees and spearheads the development of local, national, and international pro bono projects. Ellyn’s passion for equal access to justice has resulted in the representation of hundreds of clients that are unable to otherwise afford legal counsel.
Ellyn joined V&E in 2008 as the firm’s first Pro Bono Counsel. In 2009, Ellyn partnered with the Texas Children’s Hospital to form the Vinson & Elkins – Texas Children’s Hospital Guardianship Project to assist families in obtaining legal guardianship over their incapacitated adult children. As co-chairman of the Houston Alumni and Youth (HAY) Center’s mission to provide pro bono legal support to youths in foster care, Ellyn and V&E attorneys work to ensure their smooth transition towards future independence. Ellyn has also guided the growth of V&E’s Veteran’s Initiative dedicated to assisting veterans and servicemen with their legal needs on a pro bono basis.
Hoping to expand Vinson & Elkins’ pro bono reach, Ellyn pioneered Houston’s first “Virtual Pro Bono Legal Clinic” in 2011. Created to serve Houston’s low-income residents, the clinic is held on a quarterly basis to help underprivileged clients on a variety of matters including consumer law, family law, and tax issues. Finally, Ellyn served as the coordinator for Bet Tzedek’s Houston Holocaust Reparations Project, leading Houston’s major law firms in obtaining financial reparations from Germany for Houston area Holocaust survivors. Due to the success of her efforts, Ellyn currently serves as a member of the National Advisory Board of the Holocaust Survivor Justice Project.
Prior to joining V&E, Ellyn worked for five years as a Staff Attorney at Houston College of Law Legal Clinic, using the law to positively impact the community and train Houston’s future pro bono lawyers. Ellyn received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 2000 and her undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1997. Ellyn is fluent in Spanish.