Irwin L. Trauss, Esq.- 2012 PLAN Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Irwin L. Trauss, Esq.
Supervising Attorney with Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center in Philadelphia, PA

Deputy Director of Legal Practice, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, PA

Recipient of the 2015 PLAN Excellence Award
March 24, 2015

Deborah L. Freedman, Esq. has a distinguished record of public service consistently working to provide better access to justice for those without a voice or power. Ms. Freedman currently serves as the Deputy Director at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia where she started as a lawyer in 1992. She has held several positions at CLS including Interim Executive Director, Managing Attorney of the Law Center North Central, Managing Attorney of CLS’ Family Advocacy Unit and Supervising Attorney in both the Welfare and SSI Units. Her motivation for justice and ability to develop strong relationships haves allowed Ms. Freedman to become an exceptionally skilled lawyer and manager. Ms. Freedman is credited for raising the bar for CLS’ legal practice by improving supervision and evaluation systems, adopting holistic models of client service and facilitating staff training and compliance. She currently serves on the Boards of HIAS Pennsylvania, the Community Justice Project and Society Hill Synagogue. She is an active volunteer with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, where she is part of a team of volunteers who staff a helpline for survivors of breast cancer.
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Susan K Danforth – 2010 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Susan K Danforth is the Lancaster County Pro Bono Coordinator for MidPenn Legal Services. She is widely regarded as one of the key reasons for the success of pro bono in Lancaster County.

Edward Van Stevenson, Jr. Esq., is a managing attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh whose efforts are an inspiring history of dedication and commitment to the poor. In addition to representing clients who have nowhere else to turn for help, Stevenson supervises law students and coordinates the involvement of students from Pittsburgh area law schools in the delivery of civil legal aid;
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Evelyn Pankey and Catherine Herman – 2007 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Catherine Herman, Fiscal Manager for Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania and
Evelyn Pankey, Administrative Coordinator of Community Legal Services together demonstrate the crucial importance of fiscal and administrative employees to the mission of the legal aid community.
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Joseph R. DeCristopher, Esq. – 2016 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Joseph R. DeCristopher, Esq. - 2016 Excellence Award

Staff Attorney, North Penn Legal Services, Sunbury, PA.

Joseph R. DeCristopher, Esq. has worked for North Penn Legal Services and its predecessor program, Susquehanna Legal Services, since 1979. He joined legal aid shortly after his graduation from Rutgers University Law School. Mr. DeCristopher handles a wide variety of cases for clients but focuses his practice on consumer, bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure and public housing law. Mr. DeCristopher is also active in local bar activities, having served as President of the Northumberland County Bar Association in 2012 and on several local court rule committees. Over the years, he has achieved many notable litigation successes and obtained positive outcomes for clients.
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Mark A. Krochka, Esq. – 2016 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, New Castle, PA

Mark A. Krochka is the face of legal aid in his small county legal aid office in New Castle, maintaining relationships with clients, the private bar, judges and social service agencies. He is an aggressive and relentless advocate for his clients, leaving no stone unturned in trying to find a way to resolve their legal issues. Mr. Krochka often receives praise from his clients for his advocacy on their behalf, including one client who has credited him with saving her life and her children’s lives and has stepped forward to testify to national, state and local audiences about the quality services she received from Attorney Krochka and the essential safety net provided legal aid programs. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Krochka was a social worker investigating child abuse, often testifying in court proceedings. His passion for both social work and justice allow Mr. Krochka to serve each client with the top-notch services they deserve.
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Serving With Excellence in Legal Aid – 844-292-1318 Illinois legal aid

Created: 7/8/14
Presented by: Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI)
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The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, in partnership with The Chicago Bar Foundation and Illinois Legal Aid Online, has developed a series of short videos on basic, civil procedures in Illinois. The Chicago Bar Foundation provided funding for the project; Illinois Legal Aid Online produced the series. More information on Illinois civil procedure is available at

A short video on how to request something from the court.
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FedEx Ground – 2016 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Corporate Legal Department, Moon Township, PA.

FedEx Ground Corporate Legal Department has created a robust pro bono culture that has benefited countless of low-income residents and victims of domestic violence in the Pittsburgh area since its inception. FedEx Ground is a member of the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership and today operates six active pro bono projects engaging the FedEx Ground legal team and support staff from the company’s Risk Management and the Protection and Preventative Services Groups. Projects include a Protection Form Abuse project; Wills project; Guardian ad Litem project; Education Law Clinic; and Veterans Legal Aid project.
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Matthew D. Lee, Esq. – 2016 Excellence Award – 844-292-1318 Pennsylvania legal aid

Partner, Blank Rome LLP/Pro Bono Volunteer, Philadelphia VIP, Philadelphia, PA.

Attorney Lee is active in pro bono matters, and is the inaugural recipient of Blank Rome’s Edwin P. Rome Pro Bono Achievement Award for his commitment to pro bono service and devotion to the pursuit of equal justice for all. He has provided dedicated leadership and an unwavering commitment to pro bono legal work through is involvement with Philadelphia VIP, the hub of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia, serving VIP as a volunteer attorney and trusted leader while encouraging his fellow attorneys to volunteer with VIP. He has also served as a core member of a team of Blank Rome attorneys involved in a death penalty case, which resulted in a vacated death sentence and a new trial for his client.
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