Trese is the managing attorney at the Holland office of Legal Aid of Western Michigan, an organization that specializes in providing free representation in civil cases for low income residents.
They may be survivors of domestic violence, people who have been evicted from their homes or face foreclosure, or those who are applying for disability.
Trese’s interest in helping the community was kindled during her time in law school when she worked at a legal clinic.
“I just knew that, when I graduated from law school, this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “I started out thinking that I wanted to do civil rights law, but when I was in law school I worked at a clinic that basically did this same type of work.
“After doing the work at the clinic, I learned that there were several legal aid agencies throughout the state of Michigan.”
In her work as a lawyer, Trese does intake at Holland’s Center for Women in Transition and also works with a senior center in Grand Haven. Other lawyers in her office work with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Human Services, among other organizations.
“We try to stay in touch with (the) organizations that serve the same types of clientele as we do,” Trese said.
In addition to her position with Legal Aid, Trese also works with United Way on its fundraising campaigns and serves on the board of Catholic Charities of West Michigan.