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News Archive




Bradford office attorney, Stacy Wallace, leaves NWLS to accept a new position as staff attorney for Judge Cleland in the Superior Court. We congratulate and wish her well.

In March Attorney Karen Klapsinos was hired to fill the position in the Erie Office.  Karen's focus will be on family law and she comes to us with approximately 12 years experience in private practice.  We are happy to have her join our program.

Two new employees in February:   Ericka Gould is hired as Erie office secretary and Marisol Amador is hired as an Intake Screener in our Erie Intake Unit!  Welcome aboard!


It is a pleasure to announce that Attorney Andrea Amicangelo has accepted a position with our Erie Office. Andrea's focus will be on consumer law representation and also help with our Telephone Advice Unit.  Welcome Andrea!

Kel McDonald celebrates nearly 22 years as the Fiscal Manager and will retire effected September 30th.  We wish you happiness in your endeavors and we will miss you very much. 

Welcome to two recent hires at NWLS.  Rami Sorge has joined our program, filling the Fiscal Manager vacancy and Stacey Wallace has accepted a position as staff attorney in our Bradford Office.  Welcome to both of you!

NWLS broadcasts bi-weekly Radio Talk Show, Access to Justice.   Get Details & Listen Now

Welcome back to Deanna "Tippy" Felmlee who will begin work with NWLS in July as a part time secretary in our Bradford Office.

In May, 2007 NWLS hired two new Staff AttorneysAutumn Johnson is a graduate of Widener University Law School and works in our Farrell office.  Jeffrey Nicholson has been a law clerk for Judge Vardaro in Meadville for several years and has joined our staff in the Franklin Office.  Welcome to both!

Attorney J. Gregory Moore as 2007 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, presented by the Erie County  Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services.  See details.

Attorney Thomas Tupitza - Receives 2007 'Everyday Leader' Award from PBA

Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney  member and former NWLS Board President, Thomas A. Tupitza, Esquire was named the 2007 Everyday Leader Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
See full article.

NWLS publishes 2006 Annual Report.  Now available online

NWLS is currently undergoing a Legal Needs Assessment to determine the needs of our clients.  We surveyed the community and are seeking  input on our case priority setting process.  Several Public Meetings will be held throughout our service area. 


In November NWLS gained 2 new attorneys.   Jennifer Krause joined our Erie Office and Tami Chin joined our Meadville Office.  Welcome to both of you!  See full article.

Attorney Julia Bandecca at NWLS accepts position with Elder Law Project, focusing on the legal needs of low-income seniors. 

In June,  Joy Smith accepted a part-time staff attorney position in our Erie.  Joy will be focusing on bankruptcy representation and comes to us with previous legal services experience from the Albany and Pittsburgh programs.  Welcome!

Attorney Paul Troskosky,  NWLS Bradford Office Managing Attorney is awarded PLAN Excellence Award.  Paul was recognized for "his profound commitment to legal aid, collegial mentoring and “unfailing professionalism while providing quality services to low-income clients.”  

Video Viewable www.palegalservices.org/wmv/Troskosky.wmv [Windows Media Play]
See Press Release

New Attorney hired:  In February, Christopher Antalics joined our staff, providing client services through our Bradford Office.  Welcome Aboard, Chris.

Attorney Dionis Blauser is  promoted to Managing Attorney of NWLS Farrell Office.  Congratulations, Dionis!

NWLS' quarterly newsletter is now "Access to Justice".  Viewable on-line at www.nwls.org/Newsletter/ 

In February, Carin Rauenzahn accepted a position at NWLS as part-time secretary in our Warren Office.  Welcome!

Sal Parco, Community Educator and editor of “The People’s Voice” has left Northwestern Legal Services after nearly thirteen years of service to our agency and the low-income community. Over the years, Sal delivered hundreds of presentations to thousands of individuals and families about the importance of legal aid for those people with civil cases who could not afford to hire an attorney on their own. We wish Sal the very best in the years to come.

After 32 years of service to NWLS, Paul Troskosky,  has announced his retirement effective May 1, 2006.  Paul is the Managing Attorney of our Bradford Office and has served countless clients and worked with our client community. Paul has also served as a mentor and trainer for staff and we will long remember his contributions to our program.  Good luck to you, Paul!

William Creighton leaves his employment with NWLS to accept another position. We wish Bill all the best!

NWLS will host 2nd Annual & (Pool) Halls of Justice Pool Tournament and fundraiser on March 7, 2006 at  Andy’s Pub.  The event is open to all Erie County Bar Association Young Lawyers and their spouses/significant others.



2005 News

Robin Murray joins our staff filling a the part-time secretary vacancy in our Franklin Office.  Welcome aboard Robin!

Salvador A. Parco, Ph.D., Northwestern Legal Services Community Educator, has been named this year’s recipient of the Charles B. Killinger Award from the Greater Erie Community Action Committee. The annual award honors the contributions of an older Erie County resident for work on behalf of older people in our region.

As community educator for Northwestern Legal Services since 1993, Parco has conducted a wide variety of presentations on issues concerning the elderly such as Medicare, Social Security, and nursing home facilities. He is also the editor of the “People’s Voice,” the quarterly newsletter of Northwestern Legal Services, and a contributing writer for the “Tri-state Senior News.” In addition to his work in community education and outreach, Parco served as president of the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Independent Council on Aging, the International Institute Board of Directors and the Glenwood Manor Association.

Parco earned a doctorate in rural sociology from Pennsylvania State University, and he has taught at local colleges such as Penn State Erie, Gannon University, Thiel College, and Mercyhurst College Northeast.

The Killinger Award is named in honor of Charles B. Killinger for his pioneering work on behalf of elderly residents of Erie County.

NWLS gains two new part-time secretaries, Christine Roberts in our Meadville Office, and Jaclyn Muhar in our Franklin Office.  Welcome!

Eva J. Palmer, accepted a Paralegal position in our Franklin Office.  Eva joined our staff  several years ago as a secretary and will now provide legal assistance to clients in obtaining Supplemental Security Income  benefits in Venango, Crawford and Mercer counties.  Congratulations Eva!

Thelma Grady, active community advocate and NWLS Board Member receives the 2005 Liberty Bell Award at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day Luncheon.  See details

NWLS and Erie County Bar Association, Young Lawyer's Committee holds first annual  Halls of Justice Pool Tournament  in February, 2005.


Year 2004:

Lozano accepts new position.

Maria Lozano, Erie office secretary leaves NWLS to accept a position as a caseworker with Multicultural Health Evaluation Delivery System, Inc. (MHEDS).   We will miss her and wish her the best!  

Salvador A. Parco, Ph.D., NWLS Community Educator is recognized for his service and Presidency by the Independent Council on Aging  at annual meeting.  Congratulations Sal!

Jeannine Lawton-Knepper has been hired as the new Public Benefits Paralegal and is stationed primarily in the Erie office.  We will, however, be responsible for outreach and direct service for clients throughout our ten county area focusing specifically on public benefits issues.  Jeannine formerly worked at Children's Advocacy Center and the Erie Family Center as a caseworker.  She has her B.A. in Criminal Justice from Edinboro University and is working toward her Master's Degree in Administration of Justice at Mercyhurst College.  Welcome Jeannine!

New Erie Secretary

Terrika Towell has accepted a position as full time secretary in the Erie Office.  Terrika is presently attending Edinboro University and will graduate in December.  We welcome her to our program.

Jim Richardson is honored as Pro bono Attorney of the 2004 Year

Northwestern Legal Services and the Erie County Bar Association honored Erie attorney Jim Richardson as this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated service to the Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney (LAVA) Program.  Richardson received the award as part of Law Day festivities at the Erie Shrine Club on April 30th.

In 2003, Attorney Richardson contributed 46 hours of pro bono representation to low-income clients as part of LAVA.  He has been very active in the program since it began in 1982, taking 28 pro bono caess and donating 144 hours of pro bono representation and counsel during that time.  Richardson also served on the Board of Directors of  Northwestern Legal Services from 1982 to 1992, and as president of that board from 1988 through 1991, helping to create the LAVA program as we know it today.

In additional to his many years of service to NWLS, Richardson has been very active with the Shriner's Hospital for Children, and with the Boy Scouts of America French Creek Council.


Year 2003:

Baxter Receives 2003 President's Award:

David A. Baxter, Esq., NWLS Attorney, receives the prestigious 2003 President's Award.    The award was presented to David on December 3rd by Russell S. Warner, Esq., President of the Erie County Bar Association,  for his untiring and long-term commitment to coordination of our  Association's pro bono program, Legal Aid Volunteer Attorneys Program, spearheading our members' legal assistance to the indigent in our community

Congratulations David!

Thelma Grady, honored for her work and dedication to the community!  

Thelma Grady was recognized as a public housing hero by the Erie Housing Authority for her commitment and dedication to the low-income community.

 Thelma has been an active supporter and board member of  NWLS, past  president of the Clients Council of Pennsylvania, Clients Council of Eriethelmapic.jpg (53935 bytes) County, and Erie Tenants Council. She has been a mainstay of public support of free legal services for low-income people throughout the state.  
View Full News Article

Congratulation, Thelma! 

2003 Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney Award:

Attorney Roger Taft, of the Law Firm, McDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, has been awarded the  2003  Pro bono Award for Outstanding Attorney.  Attorney Taft was honored and presented with the award the Law Day Luncheon  held at the Erie Shrine Club.   Attorney Taft  has been an active volunteer attorney for our Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney Program for 21 years.    He has contributed over 113  hours of pro bono service this past year, and more than 360 hours since the inception of the program.

We wish to thank Attorney Taft  for this generous contribution and his dedication to the LAVA Program.    

New Attorney at NWLS:

Dionis Blauser,  was hired as a staff attorney with Northwestern Legal Services in November working in our Bradford Office.  Dionis attended Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. She graduated in June of 2003. While in law school she was one of four research assistants working with the Director of the Center for Social Justice at the Law School gathering information for a law review article dealing with disparate impact and fair housing claims. During the summer of 2001 she worked as a legal intern with Hill, Betts and Nash in Newark, NJ. She is a long time resident of Northwestern Pennsylvania from Mercer County. Welcome!

Fohr Retires:

Rena Fohr will be retiring on December 31, 2003. Rena began her employment with Northwestern Legal Services on July 2, 1984 working in our Bradford Office. For the past 19 1/2 years Rena has worked to empower our clients and ensure that they receive access to justice in our court system. In 2002 Rena began working part-time under a DOJ Grant providing holistic legal services to Victims of Domestic Violence. Rena is married to Samuel Fohr and has two adult children, Brad and Sherry. We wish her the best of luck in her retirement.

Department of Justice Refunds NWLS' Blossom Project - project designed  to assist victims of domestic violence.  

3 New Attorneys at NWLS:

David Hull,  is a new attorney in our Franklin Office.  David graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in May of 2003 and worked as an intern previously for Neighborhood Legal Services.   Welcome David. 

Valerie Sprenkle, has also accepted position in our Franklin Office.  She was a former staff attorney with the Civil Legal Assistance Project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.  We welcome her as an addition to the Blossom Project.

John Moore,  joins our staff will be working  in the Meadville Office for our Blossom Project.  John has been a lawyer in private practice for 2 years in the Pittsburgh area and we welcome him to our program.  

Pamela Logsdon Go To DA's Office:

 Pamela Logsdon, attorney in our Franklin Office, will be leaving NWLS as she has accepted a position with the District Attorney's Office in Venango County.  We wish her all the best in your new endeavors!

2002 Louis J. Goffman Award &  Pro bono  Participation

The  Erie County Bar Association (ECBA) and Northwestern Legal Services (NWLS) have been chosen to receive the 2002 Louis J. Goffman Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. The program seeks "to recognize and honor an individual and an organization whose commitments to pro bono have enhanced the delivery of legal services to Pennsylvania's poor or disadvantaged, making a critical difference in the lives of those in need of legal representation."

This award recognizes our efforts in Erie County to use pro bono as an important part of our mission. David Baxter, Director of the Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney (LAVA)dbaxtr.jpg (19820 bytes) program, will go the Pennsylvania Bar Association Conference in May to accept this award on behalf of the ECBA and NWLS.

As well, David was featured in the March - April 2002 edition of The Pennsylvania Lawyer for his efforts in maintaining 70% pro bono participation from the Erie County bar.   David was also recognized in the Pennsylvania Bar News.  [Full Article]

Congratulations to David and other staff efforts on this fine recognition!


Motley Accepts New Position:

Kelly Motley, Paralegal in our Franklin Office, is leaving our program to accept a new position with Family Services.   We will all miss Kelly and wish her the best of everything!

2 New Hires!

Kevin Burke, Esquire joins our staff in April, working out of our Meadville Office.   Kevin attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and has been working as an Assistant District Attorney in Franklin. 

Bill Creighton, Esquire will be joining us in May as  Managing Attorney in our Farrell Office. After graduating from Case Western Law School in 1991 he was a sole practitioner.  In 1996 he began working for Northeast Ohio Legal Services and then became the managing attorney of the Lisbon, Ohio Office.

Welcome to both of you!

Erie County Bar Association Board of Directors Honor Attorneys at NWLS:

Erie NWLS Attorneys are given recognition for the valuable service and commitment to the community  >>>See details.

Year 2002:

PLS' Striving for Excellence Awards Banquet
March 5, 2002 - Harrisburg Hilton & Towers

Pennsylvania Legal Services (PLS) recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment to legal services with the "Striving Toward Excellence" Awards. This year we are proud to announce that two "of our own" have been chosen to receive this honor.

Thelma Grady, (NWLS Board Member), has been a powerful advocate for the legal needs of low-income clients in her own community and across the nation. For over 25 years she has worked in a leadership role on the local, state and national level to ensure that clients have received civil legal services, and has molded this commitment into positive accomplishments on behalf of low-income individuals and their families. Thelma continuesStriving Toward Excellence Awards to serve on the NWLS board of directors, and she remains a strong voice on behalf of our mission.


Caulene Sanford, (NWLS Co-director of Technology, Systems and Information Coordinator), has demonstrated excellence in support of quality legal services throughout our program region and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Caulene took a lead role in the computerization of all aspects of the NWLS, both in stand-alone computers and the networking of those systems. Her commitment to use technology to assist in the delivery of client services has led to measurable improvements in program operations and capabilities.

Thelma and Caulene  were honored at the "Striving Toward Excellence" Awards Banquet on March 5 at the Harrisburg Hilton & Towers. Also being honored this year are: Lois Carnell, Valerie G. Case, Theresa M. Cocciolone, Michele Cole, Amy Hirsch, Matthew Kresock, Timothy Wolfson, Mark E. Levin, Viola A. Sanders, Sheila St. Amand, Joy Flowers Conti, Jeffrey A. Ernico, Clifford E. Haines, and David Unkovic. 

Previous recipients of the award include Debbie Place from our Bradford office.