Pro Bono News
The deadline for the submission of Workshop Proposals for the 2016 NLADA Annual Conference has been extended to July 31, 2016. The conference is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9 through Saturday, November 12, 2016 in Indianapolis, IN.
If you have not yet found the right way to propose sharing your great ideas and expertise with your colleagues in the legal aid and public defender communities, you now have two more weeks to submit your proposal. Workshop proposals will be accepted until July 31, 2016.
Conference workshops will be organized into six tracks around the theme of Advocacy at a Crossroads: Equality, Justice, and Human Rights:
- Board Leadership
- Civil Legal Aid
- Client (leadership training)
- Defender Legal Services
- Joint/Multi (workshops addressing topics that are of interest to more than one of the above categories or are generally applicable to many audiences, including communications, risk management, and technology)
SUBMITTING A WORKSHOP PROPOSAL
To submit a proposal for a workshop at this year's NLADA conference, go to http://www.mynlada.net/. Click on "My Account" to log in or to create a profile if you have not used this system in the past. After you log in, be sure to read the Guidelines and Programing Areas pages before you begin to submit your proposal. Once you are ready to begin, click on "Create Session," complete the required fields, and click the "Save" button at the bottom of the form to submit your proposal for review.
Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 31, 2016. If your proposal is chosen, as session leader you will be responsible for submitting additional workshop information, including a final title, description, and presenter bios by September 2, 2016.
Conference Dates: Wednesday, November 9-Saturday, November 12, 2016
Location: Indianapolis, IN (Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 West Maryland Street)
Visit the 2016 Annual Conference home page for more conference information, including how to nominate your colleagues for awards (nominations are due on August 19), travel and hotel accommodations, the conference schedule, or to register.
Carol Mills McCarthy, a former president of the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Legal Services Association, was recently honored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association with the Jeffrey A. Ernico Award honoring her exceptional pro bono advocacy efforts.
Pictured at right, David Trevaskis of the PA Bar Association presents the Award to Attorney McCarthy in recognition of her extraordinary volunteerism benefitting the clients of Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Center. Bob Racunas, Executive Director of Neighborhood Legal Services Association, is also pictured.
The Ernico Award celebrates the pro bono accomplishments of Harrisburg attorney Jeffrey A. Ernico and his long-standing commitment to equal justice. It is an occasional award of the PA Bar Association Legal Services to the Public Committee that is given to honor those whose efforts have “resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the neediest among us.”
McCarthy was nominated by Max Laun, General Counsel of ALCOA and NLSA board member who recently completed his term as NLSA board president, and Robert V. Racunas, executive director of Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA). In nominating McCarthy for the Enrico Award, Laun said, “Carol knows first-hand the value and necessity of quality legal representation and takes to heart her professional responsibility to help others in our community gain access to the justice system.”
McCarthy is a partner with the Pittsburgh-based McCarthy McDonald Schulberg & Joy, focusing her practice on family law issues, including divorce, child custody, support and property division. An accomplished attorney, McCarthy is consistently rated as one the region’s top family law attorneys by Super Lawyers. She began her practice of law at NLSA where she represented low income families experiencing a wide variety of difficult family law problems. Throughout her career, she has unfailingly advocated for pro bono legal services to those unable to pay and has supported legal aid. Since 2011, McCarthy has taken 217 pro bono cases for NLSA clients needing Protection from Abuse orders or representation in other family law issues.
“Carol’s heart for justice truly beats loudly in providing pro bono legal services to those who couldn’t otherwise access help and we are very proud to call her a member of the NLSA family,” said Racunas.
Registration is now open for the 2016 NLADA Annual Conference - "Advocacy at a Crossroads: Equality, Justice, and Human Rights". The conference is the leading national training event of the year for the civil legal aid, public defense, and public interest law communities.
From November 9 through 12 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, the conference will offer advocates substantive information and professional skills training, recognition of excellence among our peers, and a unique networking opportunity for all in attendance.
For conference rates and more information visit the conference registration webpage where you can register to attend. Be sure to register by the Early Bird deadline of September 16 to get the best rate.
The Annual Conference home page provides the most up-to-date information about the conference. There, you will find the overall schedule, the workshop program, pre-conference training opportunities, travel information, registration, and more.
NLADA members receive significant discounts on registration fees. to take advantage of these rates visit the NLADA membership pages to learn more about the benefits of membership.
News and Events Join the ABA LAMP Network!
Interested in joining the conversation about legal needs for servicemembers and veterans? Join the ABA LAMP Network, initiated and monitored by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP).New Partnership with Lawyers for Warriors: Hampton Roads
ABA Military Pro Bono Project partners with Lawyers for Warriors: Hampton Roads (L4W) to bring together pro bono legal programs serving military families in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area.
Read here about how a servicemember was able to obtain a divorce from an abusive, dependent spouse with help from her pro bono attorney.
Find additional case stories on our blog to see how you are successfully helping military families.
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 on our website, 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. 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 ensure that your profile information is up-to-date.
Useful Books in the ABA Web Store:
The American Bar Association Legal Guide for Military Families:
Legal resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families
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.
Ripped Off!: Guide for military personnel about certain types of sales, scams and abusive commercial practices.
Veterans Appeals Guidebook:
Guide to representing veterans in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
ABA Military Pro Bono Project’s Online Library:
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.
Along with our Star Ranking Supporters, special thanks to the following:
ABA Section of Antitrust Law
ABA Section of Litigation
Holland & Knight LLP
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.
Your e–mail address will only be used within the ABA and its entities.
We do not sell or rent e–mail addresses.
American Bar Association | 321 N Clark, Chicago, IL 60654–7598 | 800–285–2221 | 312–988–5522
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the country’s largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people, has announced the development of online, statewide “legal portals” to direct individuals with civil legal needs to the most appropriate forms of assistance. LSC will partner with Microsoft Corporation and Pro Bono Net to develop portals for up to two statewide pilots intended to demonstrate how this approach can be replicated as widely as possible in an economic fashion.
There is no right to counsel in civil disputes in the United States, and each year as many as 80 percent of low-income people who face civil legal problems that can threaten home, family stability and livelihood are unable to obtain assistance in resolving their problems. The portals are intended to help the legal aid community, courts and other state justice partners to provide some form of effective assistance to everyone with a civil legal problem.
Microsoft has committed at least $1 million in funding, technical support, and project management services. Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and increased volunteer lawyer participation, will help convene local partners and provide service design expertise to execute the pilot.
“The current system of accessing legal services is confusing, opaque, and inefficient for many people,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “The goal of the portals is to simplify the process by providing a single, statewide point of access to effective help for people needing civil legal assistance. Each user will be guided to available resources based on the nature of the matter and the user’s personal circumstances.”
“Technology can help empower the powerless—people who may feel lost without a lawyer in the legal system,” said Dave Heiner, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft. “Microsoft is thrilled to partner with the Legal Services Corporation, Pro Bono Net and the broader pro bono community to help close the yawning access to justice gap.”
“Many state justice communities are looking to develop collaborative approaches to meet the growing needs of low income and vulnerable individuals,” said Mark O’Brien, founder and Executive Director of Pro Bono Net. “We hope this initiative will strengthen those efforts and help spark creative, user-centered solutions.”
LSC will manage the state selection process, consulting with the National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Self-Represented Litigation Network, and other national stakeholders to identify promising jurisdictions that will be invited to compete for the opportunity to develop the pilot portals.
As the initiative moves forward, LSC will work to attract other institutional funders and identify local resources to help ensure that the pilots are a success.
Developing access to justice portals in every state was one of the recommendations of LSC’s 2013 “Report of the Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice.” The portals, along with other developments called for in the report, are designed to help the legal aid community provide a form of effective assistance to everyone with a significant civil legal problem. Last year, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators adopted a resolution supporting “the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs.”
The Pennsylvania Bar Association Immigration Law Pro Bono Award will be presented to Reading-based lawyers Bridget Cambria, Carol Anne Donohoe and Jacquelyn M. Kline during the statewide association's May 13 Annual Meeting Awards Breakfast in Hershey.
The award recognizes PBA members practicing immigration law who have provided a unique service that has resulted in significant provision of legal services on a pro bono basis to the neediest of foreign nationals. The winners are selected in consultation with PBA leadership. The award is sponsored by the business immigration law firm of Green and Spiegel LLC.
Cambria, Donohoe and Kline have represented many immigrant families in the Berks County Residential Center, based in Bern Township, who are involved in immigration removal proceedings. The three lawyers have represented more than 200 asylum-seeking clients and have won many asylum and withholding cases.
Green and Spiegel LLC has made a donation of $1,500 in honor of the three lawyers to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, to benefit the PBA Pro Bono Office.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will present the 2016 Louis J. Goffman Award to David J. Millstein of Greensburg on May 12 during the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in Hershey.
The Goffman Award is named for a late PBA president and recognizes individuals and organizations committed to outstanding pro bono service.
Since October 2013, Millstein has served as the voluntary director of the Westmoreland Bar Foundation's Pro Bono Program. During that time, he has overseen the Pro Bono Custody Attorney Program, has been integral to the launch of an in-house divorce program, has met with clients in emergency situations, and has overseen the expansion of the program's office space. Last year, the Pro Bono Program handled more than 600 cases.
Millstein began his career in Pittsburgh, where he worked for one year at the Federal Communications Commission and one year with the law firm of Hollinshead and Mendelson. He returned to his native Greensburg and opened a law practice with Ray Hoehler, his Hollinshead and Mendelson associate. They remained law partners for eight years, when Millstein decided to become a sole practitioner. Fifteen years later, he joined with Jackie Knupp to form Millstein and Knupp, his current firm.
Millstein has worked as an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer; chaired the Pittsburgh Legal Committee; taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and at Duquesne University, where he founded the Hugo L. Black Civil Rights Law Clinic; and sat on the Board of the Westmoreland Bar Foundation.
Millstein holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Duquesne University School of Law.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, improves the public's understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strives to ensure that citizens, particularly Pennsylvania's most vulnerable, have full access to our legal system. The foundation accomplishes its mission by making grants, seeking financial support from individuals and organizations both within and outside of the legal community, and encouraging bar members to donate their time, talent and expertise in service to the public.
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a partnership project of the Pro Bono Institute and the Association of Corporate Counsel, is now accepting nominations for the 2016 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award, which will recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving legal departments that partner with law firms or public interest organizations.
This year, CPBO will present two awards: (1) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 50 or more lawyers; and (2) to a partnership that includes legal departments of 49 or less lawyers. Recipients of either award may comprise a two-way (i.e., a legal department and a law firm, or a legal department and a public interest group) or a three-way (i.e., a law firm, a legal department, and a public interest group) partnership.
CPBO will present the awards at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner in New York City on November 3, 2016. To nominate a pro bono partnership, please complete a nomination form and submit a letter of nomination to Corporate Pro Bono c/o Pro Bono Institute, 1025 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036 or email to email@example.com no later than May 20, 2016.
A Different View How Pro Bono Contributes to a Successful Career
By Samuel W. Milkes and Joseph A. Sullivan
(Article originally appeared in The Pennsylvania Lawyer, May-June 2016)
In a recent issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine, Daniel F. Monahan contributed a short article tided “Top 10 Rules for a Successful Legal Career,” an incisive and thoughtful set of guidelines that he had written for a law student who worked in his office.
We commend Mr. Monahan not only for his wisdom but for taking the time to guide a young lawyer-to-be about how to get a good start in her career. However, we would like to offer a different perspective as to just one of the guidelines, namely, the one suggesting that the law student stay away from pro bono work and “let other lawyers do the heavy lifting.” Without specifying how long the new lawyer should stay away, Mr. Monahan suggests that pro bono representation should be left to other attorneys until the new lawyer established her career and was making enough money to start a nest egg.
While we are advocates for financial prosperity for all lawyers, we respectfully suggest that, for reasons we lay out here, there is no better time for a lawyer to embrace pro bono as a component of practice than at the outset. As we see it, from the start a new lawyer can and should incorporate pro bono as part of a healthy, financially successful and satisfying career. Here are our reasons.
Help Is Needed
In Pennsylvania, as in most other states, there are many thousands of low-income, disabled and elderly individuals and others in desperate need of legal representation for situations involving housing, domestic violence and health care who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. The statistics are staggering: A recent study by a statewide commission estimates that only 20 percent of low-income people in need of legal help but who cannot afford it are able to obtain assistance from legal-services or pro bono lawyers.
In Philadelphia’s landlord-tenant court, for example, fewer than 5 percent of tenants facing eviction are able to obtain counsel, while more than 85 percent of landlords in the same cases have counsel. Across the commonwealth, fewer than 10 percent of low-income parents in family court can get representation, even though the proceedings lead to life-changing court orders in matters such as divorce, domestic violence, child support and child custody. While legal-services agencies can help some of those in need, studies show that for every client accepted for representation by a public-interest law center, another who asks for help and qualifies for services is turned away. New lawyers, using good judgment, can make a huge difference in helping the elderly, the disabled, the homeless and others through pro bono legal work.
We would never claim that the provision of pro bono services will be enough to fill the gap between the need for legal representation of low-income Pennsylvanians and the availability of civil legal aid. That would not be realistic. Nor can pro bono lawyers be expected to develop the expertise to handle areas such as complex public benefits or public-housing regulatory issues. But pro bono lawyers can and do make a real difference in the lives of people in their communities.
Training, Training, Training
One of the less well-known but undeniable benefits of doing some pro bono early in a legal career is the enormous advantage young lawyers gain in learning the fundamental skills of legal practice that you need in order to succeed. Those skills may include negotiation, interpretation of applicable law and regulations, drafting and filing of pleadings or documents, motions practice, conduct of discovery, including document review and taking of depositions, oral argument in court and actual trial practice.
For all young attorneys, pro bono affords an opportunity to learn much earlier in a career how to handle client meetings effectively and develop strategic-thinking skills on how to advance a client’s rights or protect their interests. You are more likely to be the lawyer for your client and not just the junior associate on a large legal matter. Essentially, pro bono offers an opportunity to accelerate your professional development. Your local legal-services program, your bar’s pro bono program or other resources in your community will also be available to offer guidance on issues you may confront.
Doing pro bono as part of your larger practice from day one affords you the chance to get out into the larger community beyond the four walls of your office. You will meet a broader section of the legal community when you add pro bono work to your practice. You will also meet your colleagues at other private law firms and, in some cases, in corporate in-house law departments. You will gain exposure that will move your career forward. We have heard on more than one occasion that law-firm attorneys have impressed their corporate counterparts so much that, later on, fee work from the corporate side comes to the attorney’s firm.
Diversifying Your Practice
No matter how much a young lawyer may enjoy and thrive in fee practice, through pro bono many get an opportunity to do very different work, whether it is representing abused and neglected children, helping senior citizens stay in their homes when victimized by unscrupulous contractors or coming to the rescue of a small nonprofit that needs help with drafting or analyzing contracts or getting a zoning variance it needs to survive. Pro bono can provide a chance to show more senior lawyers in your firm that you are a leader and someone who knows how to take the initiative --yet more evidence that you are or are becoming a top-notch lawyer.
One of the essential elements of what makes practicing law a profession, in addition to being a business, is the commitment of every lawyer to uphold the law and contribute to access to justice. Indeed, access to the courts and access to justice are essential to upholding the integrity of the profession itself and to respect for the law in the wider community. Rule 6.1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct calls on all lawyers to engage in “voluntary pro bono public service.” Many bar associations in Pennsylvania, including the PBA, have adopted formal resolutions stating an expectation that association members will handle pro bono cases and that they will participate in the pro bono program adopted in their county by accepting cases or making a financial contribution.
Annually for the past six years the commonwealth’s chief justices have written open letters to members of the Pennsylvania bar encouraging us to do just that. Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor released a new letter in April 2016 renewing the court’s commitment, listing the forms of support for civil legal services and low-income Pennsylvanians the court has initiated as well as the support Pennsylvania lawyers have provided . It also renews the call for lawyers to take pro bono cases and to contribute to legal-aid programs in fulfillment of their pro bono responsibilities. We are very appreciative of this letter. Lawyers should begin fulfilling this basic duty at the start of their careers and not five or I 0 years down the road when this duty may be forgotten.
Encouragement by Your Firm and Clients
Many law firms, and even the clients of those firms, encourage your pro bono activity. We can’t speak for every firm, but many firms credit and encourage this activity. It is part of the culture of the firm. And many fee-paying clients, especially corporate clients, measure and encourage this activity.
In addition to the reasons cited above, we believe that lawyers should do at least some pro bono early in their careers because it will help them develop a balanced and varied workload from day one. By doing it now, the new lawyer, using good judgment and long-term thinking, will get used to balancing pro bono representation with the rest of his or her practice.
We won’t claim that every pro bono experience will produce the ultimate personal satisfaction for you, any more than we would make that claim for your fee-paying client experiences. But every lawyer who has done some pro bono work can tell you a story or maybe a few stories about the personal impact that comes with representing a desperate mother facing termination of her rights to have access to her children or a tenant who fell behind in her rent due to a medical emergency and is facing eviction or a disabled veteran facing homelessness and hunger unless he or she obtains Social Security disability benefits or support through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Each lawyer will tell you that there is nothing like the feeling of preserving a mother’s access to her children or keeping a family from disintegrating by helping them avoid eviction or finding food, shelter and access to essential medical care for a vet who then has a chance to rejoin the larger community.
In sum, the benefits for a new lawyer of doing pro bono from the start of his or her career are many, and they can affect every aspect of developing a high-quality, financially successful and personally rewarding career. Once again, we strongly support nine of the recommendations that Mr. Monahan suggests to his law clerk and commend him for his generosity and thoughtfulness in presenting them. But we respectfully suggest that young lawyers take another look at the idea of postponing pro bono to a time in the indefinite future and instead take the leap as soon as possible. As one seasoned partner told one of the authors when he won a difficult pro bono matter as a second-year associate, “It is nice to see you doing good, while doing well.”
Samuel W. Milkes is executive director of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Inc.
Joseph A. Sullivan is special counsel and director of pro bono programs at the Philadelphia based law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.
In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched Your Money, Your Goals, a comprehensive toolkit and accompanying training that helps social services and legal aid program staff, and community volunteers provide the people they serve with information on various financial topics. Whether someone wants to start saving for emergencies, learn how to improve their credit, build a plan to pay down debt, or just stretch their money a little further, Your Money, Your Goals can help.
In May, CFPB will be holding a series of free webinars open to the public for individuals and organizations who’d like to learn how to put Your Money, Your Goals tools and information to work in their community.
The webinars will cover how to plan your own training workshop, how others have adapted the training to fit their organization’s needs, and how you can order free copies of the toolkit. The schedule for the webinars is:
- Your Money, Your Goals for Social Services Programs
May 11, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT
- Your Money, Your Goals for Community Volunteers
May 12, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT
- Your Money, Your Goals for Legal Aid Organizations
May 25, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT
If you’d like to join an upcoming webinar to learn how to facilitate a Your Money, Your Goals training, contact CFBP and indicate which training you prefer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philip H. Yoon to Receive Service Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Young Lawyers Division will present its Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award to Philip H. Yoon during the state association's Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon, May 12, in Hershey.
The award is named in memory of a young Philadelphia lawyer committed to providing legal services for low-income people and to offering law-related educational programs to students. The award is presented to a Pennsylvania young lawyer who, through his or her exemplary personal and professional conduct, reminds lawyers of their professional and community responsibilities.
Yoon, the chief staff attorney for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, is active in the organized bar. He is the chair of the PBA Law-Related Education Committee, which oversees the association's youth education programs such as Celebrate the Constitution and Law Day. He volunteers for the Philadelphia Bar Association's Advancing Civics Education (ACE) program, which places lawyers and judges in Philadelphia public high schools to support social studies curriculum and to encourage students to engage in critical thinking about government, the law and dispute resolution.
Representing lawyers in Philadelphia, Yoon is a voting member of the PBA House of Delegates and the at-large zone chair for the PBA Young Lawyers Division. He is a member of the PBA Appellate Advocacy Committee and PBA Minority Bar Committee. He was a member of the 2011-12 class of the PBA Bar Leadership Institute, which develops future leaders of the association. He is currently a Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Young Lawyer Life Fellow. In addition, he served on the host committee for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's 2014 national conference that took place in Pittsburgh.
Formerly of Hazleton, Yoon also volunteers for the alumni society of his alma maters, MMI Preparatory School, the University of Pennsylvania and the Washington and Lee University School of Law.