Tag Archives: volunteer lawyers program

Polsinelli Named Children’s Law Center Firm of the Year

The Children’s Law Center has named Polsinelli as its 2013 Law Firm of the Year in recognition of the exceptional pro bono service undertaken by Polsinelli attorneys over the past year. The firm was selected for its volunteer efforts in connection with the Minor Guardianship Program that assists vulnerable children whose parents are not able or willing to care for them.

“We are honored that the Children’s Law Center has selected Polsinelli as its Law Firm of the Year,” said Troy Froderman, chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “Our firm is deeply committed to providing legal support to those who would otherwise not be able to access it. As attorneys we have an obligation to give back to our communities in ways that ensure that all people are able to secure and preserve their rights under the law.”

The Children’s Law Center was established in 1998 by the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) and co-sponsored by the Maricopa County Bar Association and Community Legal Services. Its goal is to address the unmet legal needs of children. Over 120 attorneys from firms throughout the Valley volunteer each year to fill gaps in legal assistance for children of diverse ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds. Current programs include Free Advice Clinics for Teens, the Court Advisor Project, the Minor Guardianship Project, the Guardianship Clinic, Teens at Work, the Adoption Project and Medical Legal Partnership.

“We are so grateful for the time and legal talent that Polsinelli’s attorneys have given so freely to the public through the Guardianship Program” said Roni Tropper, Esq., Children’s Law Center Program Coordinator. “They saw the tremendous need and offered to step in and take responsibility for all of the cases at one of our two guardianship clinic locations held monthly in English and quarterly in Spanish. They have been doing that now for three years.”

Tony Merrill, a shareholder at Polsinelli, spearheads the firm’s involvement in the Guardianship Program. “Volunteering to assist family members so that they can become legal guardians and thereby access health care for the children, enroll them in school or obtain other much needed services is very rewarding.” said Merrill.

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Bryan Cave Lawyers honored for Pro Bono work

Bryan Cave LLP Phoenix Partner Megan Lennox and Associates PJ Rivera and Gustavo Schneider have been chosen by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education as recipients of its 2012 Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys In Arizona Award. The foundation established this award in 2001 to recognize attorneys who have tirelessly given their time and experience to assist Arizonans who would otherwise have no legal resources.

All three attorneys were nominated by Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP). Founded in 1981, the VLP unites those in need with volunteer lawyers whose counsel gives thousands of Arizonans hope for a better life. VLP is co-sponsored by Community Legal Services and the Maricopa County Bar Association.

Lennox volunteers her time each month at the Tumbleweeds Young Adult Center, where she counsels teens at their legal clinic. In addition, Lennox regularly works with VLP on child guardianship and adoption matters. She also recently obtained a sizeable award for an elderly woman who had been exposed to asbestos fibers as a result of faulty home improvement work. Lennox practices with the Environmental Group and has state and federal court litigation experience with an emphasis on Superfund cost recovery and defense, environmental and commercial insurance coverage claims and general commercial litigation.

Nominated for his work on guardianship cases, Rivera is a native Spanish speaker, and often serves VLP clients who do not speak English or are unable to understand the required paperwork and process. Rivera, whose own son suffers from Autism, also often handles cases for families with autistic children that need continued family support once they reach adulthood. Rivera is a member of Bryan Cave’s Intellectual Property Group and is a registered patent attorney.

Schneider was nominated for his work on adoptions, as well as adult and child guardianship cases. Like Rivera, Schneider is a native Spanish speaker who often works with VPL clients that do not speak English. In addition to adoptions and guardianship matters, he has also litigated and negotiated landlord tenant disputes for VPL clients. In 2011, Schneider was awarded the “For Love of Justice New Volunteer Attorney of the Year” award by VLP. Schneider’s practice at Bryan Cave focuses on commercial real estate and finance, with an emphasis on CMBS loan servicing matters.

“We very proud to have three of our attorneys included in the Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys. This recognition reflects the dedication that these lawyers have to providing critical legal services to families unable to afford those services, as well as our law firm’s support of that commitment to providing access to Justice,” said Phoenix Managing Partner Jay Zweig.

Lennox, Schneider and Rivera were honored at a ceremony Saturday, April 6, 2013.

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Steptoe Associate Honored For Pro Bono Work

Steptoe associate Kevin Fincel has been named a recipient of the Children’s Law Center Clinic Attorney of the Year Award by the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP). The award honors Fincel’s exceptional pro bono service to teens and young adults with limited access to legal services. Justice W. Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court and former Chief Justice Frank X. Gordon, Jr. presented the award to Fincel at the VLP’s For Love of Justice reception on June 13 at the Phoenix School of Law in Arizona.

The VLP, co-sponsored by Community Legal Services (CLS) and the Maricopa County Bar Association, established the Children’s Law Center (CLC) in 1998 to address the unmet legal needs of children. The VLP increases access to the civil justice system for low-income persons by recruiting, training, and mentoring lawyers who extend services to those who cannot be served by CLS due to limited resources. The CLC collaborates with several service organizations for children to increase legal services to at-risk children.

Fincel, a litigator based in Steptoe’s Phoenix office, was recognized for his work with the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, a private nonprofit agency founded in 1972 to provide emergency shelter and services for runaway and homeless youth. The mission of the center is to provide a safe space for collaboration with adolescents and young adults in the community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.

Since 2010, Fincel has provided services to teens and young adults who are homeless or have been declared dependent by the courts in a wide variety of matters including emancipation of minors, custody, immigration, employment, and child support. He provides young people with advice and resources that offer opportunities for them to develop their full potential.

For more information on Steptoe associate Kevin Fincel, visit Steptoe & Johnson’s website at steptoe.com.