Pro Bono News
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is soliciting nominations for its 2016 Pro Bono Publico Awards.
The Pro Bono Publico Awards program seeks to identify and honor individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation's poor and disadvantaged. These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who are in need of legal representation to improve their lives.
The commitment, energy and new approaches to the delivery of pro bono service demonstrated by past recipients serve as models for others in the legal profession.
Nominees for the Pro Bono Publico Awards must meet criteria set forth by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The Committee is currently accepting nominations from the following two categories:
- Individuals: Individual attorneys who do not obtain their income delivering legal services to persons of limited means are eligible. (Compensated pro bono coordinators are not eligible.) Please click here for the nomination form.
- Organizations: Small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, law schools and other institutions in the legal profession whose members have collectively made an outstanding contribution toward one or more of the criteria are eligible. Please click here for the nomination form.
International pro bono work is eligible for nomination, but domestic pro bono work is given priority by the Committee. No more than five awardees will be selected from those who have excelled consistent with the criteria set forth in the nomination application requirements.
Nominations will be accepted through February 26, 2016.
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.will select award recipients in April, 2016 and the Awards will be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco in August 2016.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association will be holding its 50th Annual Conference of County Bar Leaders on February 25–27, 2016 at the Nittany Lion Inn in State College. "The Magic of CCBL" is the theme of the 50th Annual Conference.
The program includes a keynote presentation by G. Terry Madonna, professor of public affairs and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. He also is the director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll.
Attendees arriving early on Feb. 25 are invited to attend the county bar leader and executive director roundtable and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Inc. reception at the Lewis Katz Building at Penn State Law. The PLAN reception is a great way to connect with other bar leaders who support PLAN’s mission and work.
Attendees at the conference can earn up to 7 CLE credits.
The reservation deadline is Feb. 5. For overnight accommodations, contact the Nittany Lion Inn directly by Jan. 25 to obtain the PBA group rate. Additional details are included in the brochure at the link below.
More Information and Registration form
Equal Justice Works is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards. The Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee is presenting awards to law students at Equal Justice Works member schools in eight regions who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work.
The 2016 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through clinics, volunteer work, internships, extracurricular projects, and more.
To be considered for the 2016 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards, applicants must:
- Be a current law student at an Equal Justice Works member school
- Have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work
The following activities are illustrative of the qualifications that could comprise a successful application:
- Extraordinary service as an intern, extern, or pro bono volunteer with a legal service provider
- Development of a pro bono or public interest project
- Founding, creating, or leading a student-run organization dedicated to pro bono or public interest law
- Expanding an existing pro bono or public interest program
Recipients will be honored during an Award Ceremony with a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $250.
The deadline to apply for an Equal Justice Works Public Interest Award is March 1, 2016. Click here to access the 2016 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Award application, Questions on the awards should be directed to the EJW Law School Engagement & Advocacy Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Allegheny County Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for two special awards to be presented at the ACBF's 35th Anniversary Red Tie Gala on March 12, 2016.
- Heart of Justice Award. The Heart of Justice Award will be presented to an attorney who has consistently adhered to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession, particularly service to the public. This award recognizes an attorney who has an unwavering passion for community service and displays outstanding character and integrity. The recipient must be a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association who has been actively engaged in the practice of law for many years, during which substantial time has been dedicated toward service to the public.
- ACBF Young Professional Award of Excellence. The ACBF Young Professional Award of Excellence celebrates the initiative and outstanding contributions of a young lawyer to the legal profession and the community. The award shall be presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to pro bono work and community service.
For criteria and nomination forms, please visit http://acbfgala.swellgives.com/awards.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association is again seeking volunteer lawyers to handle pro bono cases in their areas of practice or expertise for Pennsylvania’s military veterans as part of the PBA’s Lawyers Saluting Veterans program.
Lawyers interested in volunteering for the program can register for the program on the Lawyers Saluting Veterans webpage on the PBA website at www.pabar.org/public/lsv.asp. Registration requires certification of malpractice insurance.
After registering, volunteer lawyers will be able to access electronic documents such as an agreement of representation, a pro bono checklist and a termination letter for use with the veteran clients. Lawyer volunteers will also receive an official certificate of participation and volunteers are encouraged to publize their involvement in the program.
Veterans in need of pro bono assistance can directly contact those lawyer volunteers who publicize their participation in the program. If the legal matter is one the lawyer does not handle, there is no obligation to take on the veteran as a client. The volunteer lawyer can refer the veteran to the program hotline where a referral will be made to a volunteer working in the appropriate area of the law. The PBA Pro Bono Legal Services Office will also make referrals to volunteer lawyers.
The Lawyers Saluting Veterans program is being coordinated by the PBA’s Pro Bono Office and Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
For more information visit the Lawyers Saluting Veterans webpage at www.pabar.org/public/lsv.asp or contact the program hotline at 800-932-0311, ext. 2570.
The Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Board is currently accepting applications for Pro Bono Initiative grants for 2016-2017. Applications will be accepted until the submission deadline of Friday January 22, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.
About $50,000 of grant funding will be awarded to help stimulate and facilitate organized pro bono efforts in counties where none currently exist. To the extent that funds are available, grants may be awarded to counties with existing organized pro bono programs if they can demonstrate definitive plans to increase pro bono participation, or enhance their programs so they can maintain existing levels of pro bono volunteers.
Step-by-step guides, including one for reusing an application submitted in a previous year, are available at the links below. If you need additional assistance with the application process, please contact James Swoyer, IOLTA Grants Manager by phone at 717-238-2001 ext. 7002 or by email at James.Swoyer@pacourts.us. David Trevaskis, PA Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinator (email@example.com or 717-571-7414), is also available to answer questions about the process and about existing projects.
Case Spotlight! Pro Bono Attorney Assists Military Family to Provide Safe Home for Children
An Army servicemember previously was granted full custody of his children, as custody and visitation were previously taken away from his ex-wife due to her child abuse. However, the ex-wife obtained counsel to reinstate some level of custody and/or visitation. The soldier spoke with a military legal assistance attorney about this issue, because the soldier needed help to maintain the current custody order to protect his children. The military attorney referred the case to the Military Pro Bono Project, which located a volunteer attorney who offered to provide pro bono help to the soldier. After extended litigation about the reinstatement of custody and visitation for the ex-wife, the soldier received an ideal case outcome—the ex-wife gave up and decided to relinquish her parental rights. The soldier’s volunteer attorney then helped complete a step-parent adoption for the soldier’s current wife. This military family was overwhelmed with appreciative emotions, because the volunteer attorney’s help ended this long-term legal battle.
Find additional case stories on our blog to see how you, our volunteers, are successfully helping military families.Get Involved
ABA Military Pro Bono Project: Pro Bono Representation
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military legal assistance offices anywhere in the world on behalf of junior enlisted servicemembers facing civil legal issues, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed in the U.S.
Explore pro bono case opportunities under the website’s For Volunteer Attorneys tab, which is updated daily.
Operation Stand-By: Providing Legal Guidance to Military Attorneys
Through the Military Pro Bono Project’s Operation Stand-By, you may offer to provide attorney-to-attorney guidance to military attorneys so they can further assist their servicemember clients. If not already signed up with Operation Stand-By, join by logging onto the Project website to update your profile by clicking on “I am registering to join the Project's Operation Stand-By."
Already signed up with Operation Stand-By? Please log onto the Project website to review your profile to ensure that your contact information and substantive legal areas of interest are up-to-date.Press Highlights Statement of ABA President Paulette Brown Re: Veterans Day and Our Responsibilities
America’s lawyers join with the rest of the nation on Veteran’s Day in honoring those who have served their country. We celebrate veterans’ patriotism, sacrifice and contributions to upholding the rule of law in the United States and around the world...
At the Urban League Multicultural Senior Center in Portland, Ore., ABA President Paulette Brown took part in the Senior Law Project Clinic, a pro bono event sponsored by Legal Aid Services of Oregon on Monday, Oct. 26. Brown, along with volunteer attorney Julie Rowett met with two clients to work on their wills and housing issues...
I greeted and collected my client, Staff Sergeant McGhee. His issue concerned the purchase of a home, which was condemned for mold literally hours after closing. After the sellers rejected his attempt to settle, his only hope was litigation. With few resources and an impending deployment to Afghanistan, SSgt. McGhee was forced to deal with the matter on his own...
News and Events
LAMP CLE Programs:
Visit the LAMP CLE webpage for information about upcoming CLE programs, along with materials from previous CLE courses.
Useful Books in the ABA Web Store:
Veterans Appeals Guidebook:
Guide to representing veterans in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
The Military Divorce Handbook: Resource for representing servicemembers and spouses.
A Judge’s Benchbook for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Information for judges of the provisions that protect servicemembers while on active duty.
American Bar Association Legal Guide for Military Families: Legal resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
Ripped Off!: Guide for military personnel about certain types of sales, scams and abusive commercial practices.
ABA Military Pro Bono Project’s Online Library:
Did you know that the ABA Military Pro Bono Project has an online library filled with resources that focus on legal issues faced by servicemembers, veterans, and military family members? Log onto the website and visit the Library.
Thank you to all of our Star Ranking Supporters!
You received this email because you have registered as a member of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project and/or the ABA Veterans' Claims Assistance Network. To edit or cancel your profile, log onto www.militaryprobono.org. If you have questions, contact the Project Director, Mary C. Meixner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services have honored Attorney Adam Barnett as this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated work on behalf of the civil legal needs of the low-income community in Erie.
Completing three cases in 2014, one that started in 2011 and two that started in 2013, Attorney Barnett represented low-income clients in the defense of civil lawsuits in which the indigent clients faced potential liability of several thousands of dollars. He devoted more than 46 hours of billable time to those pro bono cases, and has been an active volunteer since joining the LAVA program in 2007.
Attorney Barnett is a partner in the firm of Bernard, Stucynski and Barnett practicing primarily in the areas of Personal Injury, Workman's Compensation and Social Security Disability. His pro bono work focuses on defense of civil lawsuits.
Attorney Barnett is a 2003 graduate of Clarion University, and a 2006 graduate of the West Virginia University School of Law. Adam is a member of the Erie County Bar Association and chair of the Solo/Small Firm Committee, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants.
The Environmental and Energy Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association is awarding one or more law students a $10,000 stipend to allow for a pro bono summer internship in the field of environmental and/or energy law ("EEL"). The selected law student recipient(s) will be awarded $10,000.00 (paid in three installments) starting with commencement of the internship in support of an unpaid, pro bono project of the student's choosing in the field of EEL performed during an 8-week period in the summer of 2016. First- or second-year law students or third-year night law students, who are residents of Pennsylvania or who indicate their intention to practice law in Pennsylvania, and who demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in the field of EEL, are eligible for consideration.
Timely submit your application by e-mail to: Richard H. Friedman, Chair, PA Bar EEL Section Internship Committee, c/o McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, P.O. Box 1166, 100 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1166; or email@example.com.
Questions can be directed to Mr. Friedman at (717) 237-5469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your application, due on or before 5:00 pm on February 26, 2016, must consist of:
- Description of the proposed work, period of internship, and anticipated work product (1-2 pages);
- Short letter from a not-for-profit public interest organization or government agency providing a statement of its mission and indicating its willingness to provide supervision for a volunteer summer internship opportunity in the field of EEL, confirming that funding is not otherwise available for the position, and designating an individual to serve as the student's mentor (including telephone contact information for the mentor, whom the Committee may contact). This letter may also include and to that extent, substitute for, the information in the first bullet, above;
- Student's narrative addressing the criteria set forth in the Program Description and Criteria section below (not to exceed 5 pages);
- Your contact information;
- Resume and transcripts (law school and undergraduate);
- Short (2-3 page) writing sample (excerpt from longer document is acceptable); and
- Short (< 1 page) statement demonstrating interest in the field of EEL and/or reasons why you wish to pursue a career in this field; and Statement of Pennsylvania residency and/or short (< 1 page) statement demonstrating commitment to working as an EEL lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Program Description and Criteria:
The pro bono project proposed by an applicant for the internship must be supported by a not-for-profit public interest or charitable organization, educational institution, and/or a local, state or federal government agency that agrees to provide oversight and supervision of the student and a mentor to assist the student in completion of a project in the field of EEL. Students applying must demonstrate that the organization or agency for which they are applying meets these criteria, that the organization or agency has an internship opportunity available, that the organization or agency will appropriately
supervise the intern's work, and that the organization or agency would not otherwise provide a salary for the internship position.
In making its selection, the Section's Internship Committee may consider the following factors: academic achievement; the student's demonstration of interest in the field of EEL, as evidenced by his or her academic studies, work or volunteer experience and interests; commitment to working as an EEL lawyer in Pennsylvania; benefits of the proposed pro bono project to the candidate, organization, general public and field of EEL; and financial need.
The Internship Committee may also consider the following factors related to the proposed project: relationship of the organization's mission to the field of EEL; relationship of the proposed work to the mission of the organization; potential impact and longevity of the proposed work on the organization and/or its constituency.
The Internship Committee may also consider any other factors it determines are appropriate in making its selection. An interview may be required of finalists.
Required Participation in Section Activities:
Following completion of the internship, the student must prepare a 4-6 page report and evaluation of his or her internship experience. The report may be circulated to EELS section members and others. In addition, the student will be awarded scholarships to attend the Annual Environmental Law Forums presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in April 2016 and 2017 and, at the discretion of the Section Chair, will give a brief (less than 5 minute) presentation of his or her internship experience to the Section at the Annual Meeting and Dinner during the 2017 Forum.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation has launched the Million Miles for Justice Car Raffle to mark the milestone achieved by PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis, who since October 2001 has logged more than one million miles by car --it has taken 3 cars -- across the Commonwealth in his work to increase the number of lawyers working at no cost to protect the livelihoods, health and homes of Pennsylvania’s poor and vulnerable and teaching Pennsylvania’s children and young adults how to be better citizens.
The Million Miles for Justice Car Raffle is a limited sale raffle offering a grand prize of a 2016 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 presented by Faulkner Honda Harrisburg, or $25,000. The Grand Prize Drawing will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Annual Dinner held at the Hershey Lodge Convention Center, 325 University Dr., Hershey, PA 17033. Tickets will not be sold after 7:00 p.m. on May 12, 2016. Purchase of a raffle ticket does not entitle the purchaser to entrance to the event.
Ticket prices are $100 for each ticket. The ticket price is not tax deductible and is not refundable. The winner need not be present to win. There is no limit to the number of tickets an individual may purchase, subject to availability. All ticket sales benefit Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.
The minimum number of tickets offered for sale will be 1400; the maximum, 2000. If fewer than 1400 tickets are sold by 7:00 p.m. on May 12, 2016, the raffle will be held as scheduled, and the Grand Prize winner will receive a sum equal to 50% of the net raffle proceeds, less 10% expenses, but not to exceed $25,000. Net proceeds will be divided equally between the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the Grand Prize winner based on the Foundation’s accounting, which shall be final and conclusive with respect to the Grand Prize winner.
If the car is awarded, the Grand Prize winner assumes all fees, local, state and federal taxes (including but not limited to income taxes based on the value of the car) which must be paid when the car is transferred to the winner.
Ticket sales will be conducted from November 19, 2015 until 7:00 p.m. on May 12, 2016; however tickets may sell out before that time. Tickets may be purchased by mail using the Ticket Order Form; in-person at selected PBA and PBF events; at the Pennsylvania Bar Center at 100 South St. in downtown Harrisburg; and from volunteers located across the state. Checks and Money Orders should be made payable to the “Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.” American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are also accepted.
Full information and rules for the raffles are available at http://www.pabarfoundation.org/million-miles-for-justice-car-raffle/. Questions regarding the raffles should be directed to Marie Queen, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, P.O. Box 186, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186; Telephone: 888-238-3036; FAX: 717-213-2548; E-Mail: email@example.com.
David K. Trevaskis, the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, was honored with the American Bar Association Isidore Starr Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education on October 30, 2015.
The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding achievements in teaching about the law in the elementary and secondary grades, was presented Oct. 30 during the 2015 National Law-Related Education Conference in Philadelphia.
“David has made tremendous contributions to the profession and has shown a dedication for law-related education over his career,” said Harry Johnson, chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Public Education. Trevaskis, in addition to being the pro bono coordinator of Legal Services for the Pennsylvania Bar Association. also serves as the director of LEAP-Kids (Law, Education and Peace for Kids). He currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies, as well as an adjunct professor of education and law at Arcadia University.
An attorney and former third grade teacher, Trevaskis has been a champion for nonviolence and an advocate for education and social justice for more than 40 years. He is the designer and original trainer for Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators), a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court program. Trevaskis also contributed his expertise on school law and school crisis as co-author of the 2014 book, School Law: Legal Framework, Guiding Principles and Litigated Areas. In 2015, he was recognized as the “Most Valuable Peacemaker” by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators.
In her nomination testimony, Nycole Watson, co-chair of Advancing Civics Education at the Philadelphia Bar Association said of Trevaskis, “His ability to motivate and organize others through the creation of summer law-related education programs and formation of youth courts in poverty-stricken areas of Pennsylvania has transformed the public perception of the role of the legal profession in elementary and secondary civic education.”
Trevaskis is a graduate of Duke University and Temple University School of Law.
The Isidore Starr Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education is presented by the ABA Division for Public Education. Established in 1983, the award is named in honor of Isidore Starr, an educator and lawyer who was a life-long advocate for law-related education, first integrating law into his high school civics class in 1934.
The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Association and Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network have announced the release of 10 one-hour videos offering practical and reliable training for lawyers taking a pro bono case from your organization.
These programs focus on areas of practice needed by many pro bono counsel, making it quick and easy for them to take on new clients.
The videos were produced by PBI in partnership with the PBA and PLAN.
There will be no cost to any pro bono attorney to watch these videos (one per client) and they will receive one CLE credit for each program. The videos will be distributed by PBI through local legal aid programs and other pro bono providers (including county bars and stand-alone programs).
Each video begins with an introduction by Chief Justice Thomas Saylor. The Chief Justice notes in his remarks that “… this training program facilitates a valuable service for citizens that only lawyers can provide and that is consistent with our professional obligations.” He goes on to lay out the intent of the videos, to assist pro bono lawyers “in representing a client in a matter that may be outside your regular areas of practice.”
The videos, along with extensive written materials available online, are available now. They represent the three foundations of any successful pro bono effort – the hard work and expertise of legal aid professionals, support of the organized Bar, and the volunteer efforts of practicing lawyers!
Agencies with pro bono programs merely need to send volunteers’ names, email addresses and video program title to David Trevaskis at the PBA Pro Bono Office (firstname.lastname@example.org). David will send out the codes that will allow volunteers to access the training on PBI’s website. Volunteers can take the “Nuts and Bolts” program one time plus one substantive video per client.
The videos will also be available to purchase for those who do not take a pro bono case.
Description of Ten Free CLE Vidoes
Governor Wolf and General Assembly Recognize Contributions of Pro Bono Attorneys During National Celebration of Pro Bono
The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf have issued official acknowleded their support of the seventh annual National Pro Bono Week which is being celebrated the last week of October, 2015 by the issuance of an official proclamation by the Governor and the passage of Resolutions in both houses of the legislature.
Pennsylvania is a leader in celebrating National Pro Bono Week, with what have become annual events at many sites across the Commonwealth, from the Berks County Pro Bono Celebration on October 27, 2015, in Reading featuring PBA President Bill Pugh and legal aid founder Edgar Cahn to the Pennsylvania Bar Association's statewide Jeans for Justice initiative on Friday, October 30, 2015.
Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to highlight the differences lawyers make in their communities, to recruit and train more pro bono volunteers and to acknowledge the partnerships that form the basis for many of the private bar's most successful pro bono efforts. See the list of events at on the calendar of events on PaProbono.net and on the website of the PA Bar Association at http://www.pabar.org/public/probono/2015nationalpbweek.asp.
If you have an event to add,you can post it to PAProbono.net or send it to email@example.com for inclusion on the PA Bar Association website.