About the Excellence Awards
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards honor members and friends of the legal aid community who exemplify excellence in their commitment and accomplishments as advocates for low-income people.
Nominations are made in the following categories:
Legal Services Staff
This category is for all staff positions. We are seeking nominations for employees who exhibit excellence and commitment in the performance of the duties of their jobs;
This category is for members of the private bar who display an outstanding commitment to legal aid and the legal needs of low-income Pennsylvanians;
This category is for client leaders, organizational partners, or others who have donated significant time and energy to the mission of legal aid and the needs of low-income people.
This category is for volunteers and friends who demonstrate exceptional dedication to legal aid. It may include legislators or government officials, clients, community leaders, or others who help promote the mission of legal aid.
Nominations are open to everyone. You do not have to be a member of the legal aid community to submit a nomination. You also do not have to be a member of a particular category to submit a nomination in that category. There is no limit to the number of nominations you may submit.
Nominations usually open in the last quarter of each calendar year for the awards to be made in the spring of the following year.
Specific information on nominations and a submission form will be posted here when nomination open for next year's awards.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Presents 2016 Excellence Awards
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) honored the recipients of the 2016 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards on March 15, 2016 at the annual awards dinner held at the Hilton Harrisburg.
The Keynote Speaker at the event was The Honorable J. Richard Gray, Mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who began his career as a legal aid attorney and later served as the director of the legal aid program serving Central Pennsylvania.
The mission of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is to ensure equal access to justice so that Pennsylvanians can have legal representation when facing important civil legal concerns affecting their safety, health, shelter and survival.
The PLAN Excellence Awards are presented each year to individuals, groups, and/or organizations that have established excellence and diligence improving the availability and quality of civil legal services for low income people and victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania.
The list of award recipients includes a variety of civil legal aid professionals and friends of civil legal aid across Pennsylvania who were recognized for their efforts in support of the clients served by the civil legal programs of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.
A video tribute was shown highlighting the accomplishments of each of the 2016 recipients of the award. Those video tributes may be viewed below:
The recipients of the 2016 Excellence Awards are:
Joseph R. DeCristopher, Esq.
Staff Attorney, North Penn Legal Services, Sunbury, PA
Corporate Legal Department, Moon Township, PA
William Gibbons, Esq.
Senior Attorney, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, PA
- Wendy Carter, Director of Housing Administration, PathStone Corporation, Harrisburg, PA
- Nancy Close, Hardwood Estates Resident Association, Conneaut Lake, PA
- Robert Damewood, Esq., Staff Attorney, Regional Housing Legal Services, Pittsburgh, PA
- Carla Falkenstein, Director of West Region, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Pittsburgh, PA
- Kenneth Joseph, Esq., Of Counsel, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Pittsburgh, PA
- PA Department of Environmental Protection Safe Drinking Water Program
- Mel Reinhart, Hardwood Estates Resident Association, Conneaut Lake, PA
- Charles G. Scalise, President & CEO, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Erie, Erie, PA
- Wesley S. Speary, Esq., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Rochelle L. Jackson
Public Policy Advocate, Just Harvest and Board Member, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Pittsburgh, PA
Mark A. Krochka, Esq.
Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, New Castle, PA
Matthew D. Lee, Esq.
Partner, Blank Rome LLP/Pro Bono Volunteer, Philadelphia VIP, Philadelphia, PA
Jeffrey A. Mills, Esq.
Partner, Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, Lancaster, PA
The following law firms will receive the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award for their Cy Pres Support of Legal Services to the Pennsylvania IOLTA Board and its grantees:
- Barrack, Rodos & Bacine (Mark Rosen, Esq.), Philadelphia PA
- Donovan Axler, LLC (Michael D. Donovan, Esq.), Philadelphia, PA
- Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock, Dodig LLP, (Alan M. Feldman, Esq.), Philadelphia, PA
- Francis & Mailman, PC (James Francis, Esq.), Berwyn, PA
- Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer & Check, LLP (Lee D. Rudy, Esq.), Radnor, PA
- Wohl & Fruchter LLP (Ethan D. Wohl, Esq.), New York, NY
You are invited to follow the link below to learn more about the 2016 Excellence Award winners.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. and all of the regional and specialty legal aid programs in the network congratulate the recipients of the Award for their past and ongoing efforts to help individuals and families across Pennsylvania who have no where else to turn when faced with a legal crisis.