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 Pro bono Awards
 

Matthew L. Lager - 2017 Pro bono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney Matthew J. Lager as the 2017 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated work on behalf of the civil legal needs of the low-income community in Erie.

Attorney Lager is recognized for a major case in 2016, which allowed a pro bono client to be released from a complex, multiple defendant, personal injury lawsuit, and significantly aided in settling the entire matter, Attorney Lager devoted 55 hours of billable time to this pro bono case. Attorney Lager has been an active volunteer with LAVA since moving to Erie in 2012.

Attorney Lager is a partner with Bernard, Stuczynski, Barnett and Lager in Erie with a focus on personal injury litigation. His pro bono work is primarily defense litigation.

Attorney Lager is a 2009 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biology, and a 2012 graduate of the Penn State-Dickinson School of Law. Matt is a member of the Pennsylvania and Erie County Bar Associations, chair of our Solo/Small Firms Division, and on the Young Lawyers Committee.

He is recognized for his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases. We are proud to acknowledge this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – Congratulations, Matt.

 


 

Previous Years - Pro bono Award Recipients

2016 Gary V. Skiba, Esquire
2015 Adam Barnett, Esquire
2014 John B. Enders, Esquire
2013 Laurie Tewinkle, Esquire
2012 John W. McCandless, Esq.
2011 James Marnen, Esq.
2010 Rich Filippi, Esq.
2009 Colleen Stumpf, Esq.
2008 Jennifer Hirneisen, Esq.
2007 J. Gregoy Moore, Esq.
2006 Tammy Lamary, Esq.
2005 Michael Kruszewski, Esq.
2004 James H. Richardson, Jr., Esquire
2003 Roger H. Taft, Esquire
2002 E. James Lucht, Esquire
2001 Timothy D., McNair, Esquire
2000 Gregory L. Heidt, Esquire
1999 Robert C. Ward, Esquire
1998 Keith H. Clelland, Esquire
1997 David W. Remington, Esquire
1996 W. Richard Cowell, Esquire
1995 Colleen C. McCarthy, Esquire
1994 Daniel J. Pastore, Esquire
1993 Bradley K. Enterline, Esquire
1992 Edward J. Neibauer, Esquire
1991 Craig A. Markham, Esquire
1990 William D. Taggart, Esquire
1989 Michel S. Jan Janin

 

Gary V. Skiba, Esq.- 2016 Pro bono Attorney of the Year  

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney Gary Skiba 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 one major case in 2015, that allowed a pro bono client to discharge her student loan in bankruptcy giving her a much needed fresh start, Attorney Skiba devoted 39 hours of billable time to this pro bono case. Attorney Skiba has been an active volunteer since LAVA began in 1982, representing more than 30 individual low-income clients over the years.

Attorney Skiba is affiliated with Yochim, Skiba and Nash in Erie with a bankruptcy and general practice. His pro bono work focuses primarily on bankruptcy.

Attorney Skiba is a 1969 graduate of St. Vincent College with a BA in Economics, and a 1973 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Gary is a member of the Erie County Bar Association and a former chair of the Bankruptcy Section, and presided over the Civil Rules Committee. Gary has also served as Board President of Better Homes for Erie which he has been involved with for twenty years.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, I am extremely proud to acknowledge this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – Gary Skiba.

 
Adam Barnett - 2015 Pro bono Attorney of the year

 

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor 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.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, I am extremely proud to acknowledge this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – Adam Barnett

 

John B. Enders, Esq. - 2014 Pro bono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney John B. Enders 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 a case in 2013 that started in 2012, Attorney Enders represented a low-income client in a successful defense of a civil lawsuit in which the indigent client was facing a potential liability of several thousands of dollars. He devoted more than 30 hours of billable time to that pro bono case, and has been an active volunteer since joining the LAVA program in 1991.

As many of you know, John Enders was recognized for 50 years service as an attorney and recently retired from the Elderkin Law Firm. John could not join with us today because of a well deserved and previously scheduled vacation.

Attorney Enders is a 1959 graduate of Oberlin College, and a 1962 graduate of the Harvard Law School, Harvard University. John is a member of the Erie County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and active on the boards of the Erie Philharmonic and the Erie Club.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, I am extremely proud to acknowledge this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – John B. Enders.

 
   

Laurie C. TeWinkle, Esquire - 2013 Pro bono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney Laurie C. TeWinkle as the 2013 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for her dedicated work on behalf of the civil legal needs of the low-income community in Erie.

Completing a case in 2012 that started in 2008, Attorney TeWinkle represented a low-income client in a successful defense of a civil lawsuit in which the indigent client was facing a potential liability in excess of $30,000. She devoted more than 40 hours of billable time to that pro bono case, and has an ongoing Landlord/Tenant case as well.

As many of you know, Laurie TeWinkle is a solo practitioner at the Law Office of L.C. TeWinkle concentrating on civil litigation. TeWinkle is a 1989 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, and a 1992 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law. Laurie is a member of the Erie County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Association for Justice. She is also licensed to practice in the State of New York.

For her dedication to the legal profession, and her example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, we are extremely proud to acknowledge this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – Laurie C. TeWinkle.

 
   

 

John W. McCandless, Esquire - 2012 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney John W. McCandless as the 2012 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated work on behalf of the civil legal needs of the low-income community in Erie.

During 2011, attorney McCandless represented a low-income client in a successful defense of a civil lawsuit in which the indigent client was facing a potential liability in excess of $50,000. He devoted over 75 hours of billable time to the pro bono case. As many of you know, John McCandless is a shareholder at the Quinn Law Firm where he concentrates on personal injury law, along with commercial, contract and subrogation litigation, and medical malpractice defense.

Attorney McCandless is a 1978 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and he has served on many committees in support of the legal profession and the Erie County Bar Association, including the Civil Rules Committee. John was also active with the American Red Cross Japan Tsunami Relief, and as president of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Inn of Court.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, we are extremely proud to acknowledge this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – John McCandless

 

 

James Marnen-  2011 Probono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney James Marnen as the 2011 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated work on behalf of low-income clients in Erie.

During 2010, attorney Marnen represented a low-income client in a defense of a civil lawsuit. He devoted over 100 hours of billable time to the pro bono case, and eventually won a dismissal of the civil action for his client.

As many of you know, Jim Marnen is one of the principals in the law firm of Marnen, Mioduszewski, Bordonaro, Wagner & Sinnott, where he concentrates exclusively on civil litigation, primarily with respect to commercial matters, product liability, professional liability, and civil rights.

Attorney Marnen was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1970 with the rank of sergeant after a tour of duty in the Vietnam War that included service as a rifleman in the First Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and he regularly handles litigation matters in the state and federal trial courts of Western Pennsylvania and in the federal and state appellate courts sitting in Pennsylvania.

In addition to the many committees he has served on in support of the legal profession, Jim is currently chairperson of the board of directors of the Erie County Convention Center Authority.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, we are extremely proud to acknowledge this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year – Jim Marnen.

 

 

Attorney Rick Filippi -  2010 Probono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney Rick Filippi as the 2010 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his perseverance and dedication on behalf of low-income clients in Erie.

• In April 2006, Northwestern Legal Services represented a separated mother of four minor children who had been evicted from a public housing unit in Erie. The client lost her case at the hearing before a local district magistrate, and when the case was appealed to the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, the court also upheld the eviction order.

• In October 2006, Attorney Rick Filippi agreed to get involved in the case through a pro bono referral from legal aid. After reviewing the case files, he was convinced that the client’s defense rested on an important issue of law, and he appealed the Common Pleas Court decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. In August 2008 the Superior Court ruled in his client’s favor, and remanded the case back to the Erie County Court of Common Pleas for a retrial, which resulted in a favorable decision for the mother and her children.

• When the housing authority then appealed this decision back to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the court dismissed the appeal in December 2009. During the three years and over 70 hours of billable time he devoted to the case as it made its way through our legal system, Attorney Filippi was a tenacious advocate for this low-income client who could not afford an attorney on her own, and our system of justice is better because of his efforts.

• It should also be noted that during the three years Attorney Filippi represented this low-income client, he continued to accept other referrals from Northwestern Legal Services. He represented low-income clients in cases dealing with unemployment compensation and a real estate transaction.

• For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to us all of our professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, we are extremely proud to acknowledge this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year to Rick Filippi.



 

Attorney Colleen Stumpf -  2009 Probono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services have selected Attorney Colleen Stumpf as this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.  Attorney Stumpf is a graduate of the Dickinson School of Law, and was admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania in 2006. She is currently an attorney with The Quinn Firm where she concentrates in the areas of business law, estate planning, elder law and transactional issues.

During 2008, Colleen devoted over 80 hours of pro bono representation and counsel to low-income clients in Erie County. She closed three cases during the year; one case involved a guardianship, and the other two cases involved wills and estate issues for low-income clients.

In addition to her pro bono casework in 2008, Colleen provided legal counsel on business law issues to the four neighborhood centers in Erie County: the Martin Luther King Center, the Booker T. Washington Center, the John F Kennedy Center and the Hispanic-American Counsel of Erie.  She also presented a workshop on wills, trusts and probate to senior citizens in Harborcreek, as part of the “Older & Wiser” series – a partnership between Northwestern Legal Services, LAVA, and state representatives in northwestern Pennsylvania.  Congratulations!


 

 

Attorney Jennifer Hirneisen -  2008 Probono Attorney of the Year

At the 2008 Law Day Ceremony held on May 2, 2008, Jennifer Hirneisen, Esq., was named the 2008 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services.

Attorney Hirneisen was admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania in 2004, and she is currently an attorney with MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, where she concentrates in the areas of family law, real estate, business and transactional law.  

During 2007, Attorney Hirneisen devoted 110 hours of pro bono representation to low-income clients in Erie County. The case in which she devoted the most hours was a foreclosure action in which she was able to negotiate a settlement that allowed the client to remain in the home with a reduced interest rate.

In addition to her pro bono work with LAVA, Jenny serves on the board of directors for Supportive Living Services, a non-profit organization in Erie, and she is a volunteer participant in the ECBA’s Attorney & Kids Together mentoring program. Congratulations!


 

 

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.


 

Year 2007 Pro bono Attorney of the Year

Northwestern Legal Services and the Erie County Bar Association have selected Attorney J. Gregory Moore as this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. During 2006, as a attorney in private practice in Erie, Moore devoted 84 hours of pro bono representation to low-income clients in Erie County.

Attorney Moore graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1969, and after a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, he completed his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law.

Over the years Attorney Moore has been an active participant in the Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney (LAVA) program that is co-sponsored by Northwestern Legal Services and the Erie County Bar Association. He has accepted a wide range of cases on behalf of clients who could not afford to hire an attorney on their own.

 Erie County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stephanie Domitrovich presented Moore with the award as part of the Law Day festivities held April 27 at the Erie Shrine Club.

 
 

 

Tammy Lamary is named 2006 Pro bono Attorney of the Year! 

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services selected Attorney Tammy  Lamary as this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. The award is given each year to a private attorney who has made a significant commitment to pro bono representation of low-income clients with civil cases in Erie County.

 Attorney Lamary is a 2003 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and she currently serves as law clerk for Judge John A. Bozza on the Erie County Court of Common Pleas.  Prior to joining Judge Bozza's staff, attorney Lamary worked in 2005 as a volunteer attorney in the Erie office of Northwestern Legal Services. During that time she accepted 50 pro bono cases, and devoted nearly 300 hours of pro bono representation to low-income clients in Erie County.

In addition to her legal representation of low-income clients in civil cases, attorney Lamary also was involved in staffing the custody clinic at Northwestern Legal Services.  "Throughout all of her volunteer work at Northwestern Legal Services, Tammy was a strong advocate for the rights of low-income clients, and she was sympathetic to the struggle of poverty-level individuals and families," explained Bob Oakley, NWLS executive director.

The award was presented to attorney Lamary at the Law Day luncheon on April 28, 2006 at the Erie Shrine Club. Law Day is held each spring to celebrate the importance of the rule of law to our democratic ideals.


Michael Kruszewski Named 2005 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services selected Attorney Michael Kruszewski as this year’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his dedicated service to the Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney (LAVA) Program. Kruszewski received the award as part of the Law Day luncheon on April 28 at the Erie Shrine Club.

Attorney Kruszewski joined the LAVA program last year (2004), and he accepted two cases totaling over 80 hours of pro bono representation and counsel. He is a 2003 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a member of the Quinn Law Firm Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group.

The Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney (LAVA) Program is co-sponsored by the Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services. Since its inception in 1982, it is estimated that over 10,000 pro bono hours of legal representation and counsel have been given to impoverished individuals and families in Erie County by LAVA. This translates into well over $1 million in free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged over the last two decades.

In honoring Attorney Kruszewski as the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, it is also important to acknowledge the support of The Quinn Law Firm for the LAVA program. In 2004, the Quinn Law Firm accepted nine pro bono cases, and 85 percent of the lawyers in the firm actively participate in LAVA.

Attorney Kruszewski was also the recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's 2005 Pro bono Award. 


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.


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.    


President's Award

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!


 

Louis J. Goffman Award

Baxter Receives 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!