We at The Legal Intelligencer know that there are many attorneys across Pennsylvania who dedicate themselves to helping their communities through pro bono service, but it seems that too often, these people do not get the thanks and recognition they deserve. In an effort to give those outstanding attorneys a chance to be honored for their efforts, we asked law firms, public interest groups and bar associations from across the commonwealth to tell us about them, these “unsung heroes.” We received dozens of responses detailing the hard work and heart-felt stories of many attorneys, and they were all deserving. The editorial department of The Legal selected the stories below, which feature excerpts from each individual or group’s nomination, for being those that stood out above the rest. The stories below are in no particular order.
Michael Lieberman and Naomi Mendelsohn Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin In proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Michael Lieberman and Naomi Mendelsohn represented a young Iraqi man studying in the United States who was seeking political asylum. The client’s father was an Iraqi government official, and he and his son, together with various members of his family, had been subject to assassination attempts by groups seeking to destabilize the Iraqi government. Some of those attempts were successful. The client and his family believed that his life would be in jeopardy if he returned to Iraq. After a protracted application process, Lieberman and Mendelsohn were able to convince the Department of Homeland Security and Citizenship and Immigration Services that their client’s fears were legitimate, and he was granted asylum. As a result, he will be able to remain in the United States and to embark upon a path to citizenship. Liberman is a shareholder and Mendelsohn is an associate in the litigation practice group in Philadelphia.
Jon C. Hughes and Jennifer A. Callery Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis Jon Hughes and Jennifer Callery successfully represented Malvin Cavalier Sr., an 86-year-old retired sheet metal mechanic, who was forced to leave his 12-year-old poodle Bandit behind when he was evacuated to the New Orleans Superdome, where pets were not welcome. He left Bandit on his covered porch with a bag of food and a bucket of water, assuming that he would be home in a day or two. He was at the Superdome for six days and subsequently was evacuated to Houston, Texas, unable to return home for several months. In the meantime, Bandit was found by an animal rescue group and was eventually transported to a shelter outside of Pittsburgh, where he was fostered and eventually adopted by a local family. When Cavalier returned home, he learned what happened to Bandit, but the rescue group that placed him refused to provide any additional information or make any attempt to reunite owner and dog. Hughes and Callery took on the case pro bono. Their initial requests to return Bandit were rebuffed, but after a year’s worth of work, he was voluntarily returned after a suit was filed against both the adoption agency and the adoptive owner. Cavalier and Bandit have since been happily reunited. Their story was one of several documented in “Mine: The Movie,” which was shown across the country at a variety of independent movie festivals (the movie was a 2009 Audience Award Winner at South by Southwest); and as part of the PBS television series “Independent Lens.” Hughes, a partner in the firm’s Pittsburgh office, concentrates his practice in general corporate governance; mergers, acquisitions and dispositions; ERISA; and employee benefits related matters. Callery, an associate in Pittsburgh, focuses on commercial litigation, emphasizing complex commercial disputes, securities, technology and intellectual property.
Jason Snyderman, Lewis Schlossberg and Leigh Ann Fierro Blank Rome In August 2009, a team of Blank Rome attorneys led by Jason Snyderman and supported by Lewis Schlossberg and Leigh Ann Fierro successfully led an appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The client was Pennsylvania’s first-ever convict released from prison on the basis of after-acquired DNA evidence. He was convicted in 1987 of rape and related offenses, and after serving more than 10 years of a 12- to 24-year sentence, was granted a new trial and released from prison after the acquisition of post-conviction DNA evidence. Shortly after the client’s release, the district attorney withdrew all charges. However, for 15 years, despite the after-acquired exculpatory DNA evidence, and the lack of any other evidence against him, the commonwealth opposed expungement of his records. The trial court denied the client’s petition to expunge his records in March 2008. When denying expungement, however, the trial court failed to conduct the appropriate balancing test long established by the state supreme court in Commonwealth v. Wexler to determine whether expungement was warranted. Snyderman, Schlossberg and Fierro argued that had the trial court conducted the appropriate analysis, it would have been compelled to order expungement. Following extensive briefing and argument, the Superior Court completely reversed the order of the trial court and ordered expungement on remand. As a result, after more than two decades of being attached to heinous crimes he did not commit, the Superior Court in August 2009 finally granted him a full and complete expungement of his record. The commonwealth has since petitioned for allowance of an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has accepted the case for further review. The client’s story was the subject of After Innocence, a Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary. Snyderman is a partner focusing on commercial litigation and intellectual property; Schlossberg is an associate concentrating in litigation disputes including commercial, real estate and IP disputes; and Fierro is an associate concentrating in complex commercial litigation. All are resident in the firm’s Philadelphia office.
Thomas E. Zemaitis Pepper Hamilton Thomas Zemaitis worked on the pro bono case of Linda Ralston, et al. v. Steven B. Zats, et al. for Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP), a case that was open for 12 years before being settled on June 11, 2009. In 1997, Zemaitis and his colleagues at the firm accepted a Philadelphia VIP case to defend 16 clients in a class action suit against the abusive conduct and misleading collections representations of the law firm Zats & Associates. Zemaitis, not wanting to allow another attorney to take advantage of clients using the system that he was trained in, offered his expertise in defense of the class action members from 1997 to 2009. Spanning 12 years and hundreds of hours of pro bono legal assistance, Zemaitis settled the case and oversaw the execution of a plan for the distribution of the settlement amount to the class members. Zemaitis said, “Although we could not restore everything that these individuals lost, I am pleased that we were able to obtain some recovery for them and to help stop Mr. Zats from continuing to hurt others. This was a long and difficult case, but it was gratifying to receive so many heartfelt expressions of thanks from the members of the class that we represented.” A partner in the firm’s Philadelphia office, Zemaitis concentrates his practice in all types of commercial litigation, with an emphasis on intellectual property, particularly trademark, copyright and false advertising matters, and antitrust and trade regulation matters.
Kathleen Tana Willig Williams & Davidson Kathleen Tana represented a SeniorLAW Center elderly client in a protracted custody matter and appeal to Superior Court to obtain permanency for a 10-year-old child who had been abandoned by his mother. She spent in excess of 100 hours in successfully asserting the client’s right for custody. This senior caregiver had legal custody of this child for nine years (currently 10 years old) prior to the onset of litigation. Client found the child when he was 21months old on the street, and sent the child’s 6-year-old brother to get the mother. The mother told the client to keep the child, and the client raised the child since April 1999. The mother was in and out of rehab and rarely saw the child; father of the child is deceased. The senior client obtained legal and physical custody of this child, and has applied for him to be admitted to a private school in Lancaster, Pa. The mother and child have open telephonic communications, and Tana ensured that the best interests of this child were met. The trial court found that the senior had been acting in loco parentis for the child for nine years. Tana handled the case throughout successful outcome at trial and then through appeal, briefing, and oral argument before the Superior Court. The Superior Court affirmed the lower court order, ensuring the child a stable, secure permanent home with the only caregiver he’s ever known. An associate in the firm’s legal services department, Tana focuses her practice in domestic relations and family law.
Daniel J.T. McKenna Ballard Spahr Daniel McKenna has been a driving force behind the national Wills for Heroes Program, which provides free estate planning documents to first responders. He has selflessly promoted and served for the past three years, volunteering hundreds of hours annually. McKenna spends most weekends at firehouses, union halls and community centers helping make sure that the men and women who protect their communities are themselves protected. His enthusiasm for this project has led to its adoption as a firmwide project by Ballard Spahr, its implementation as a company-wide project by Exelon Corp., and the enlistment of volunteers in more than two dozen states, through his work as the public service coordinator for the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. Daniel McKenna is an associate in the firm’s litigation department and a member of the consumer financial services group, corporate and government investigations and white-collar defense group, and product liability and mass tort group.
Sarah Schalman-Bergen Berger & Montague Sarah Schalman-Bergen, of counsel with the AIDS Law Project, was co-lead counsel on a case involving TIAA-CREF, a financial services company, which had presented a man’s retirement benefits to his ex-wife, instead of his longtime partner who he had named as beneficiary. In January, U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell ruled in favor of the client, Thomas Bernardo, Dr. John L. Turner’s life partner of more than 27 years. Turner was one of the first physicians — and among the only openly gay physicians — to come forward to treat HIV in the earliest years of the epidemic. The court decided that Bernardo was the lawful beneficiary of all of Turner’s annuity contracts, and was therefore entitled to the full amount of money in dispute. After a March 29, 2010, mediation, TIAA-CREF paid Bernardo the full contract amount plus pre- and post-judgment interest, as ordered by the court. Schalman-Bergen, despite working full-time as an associate with Berger & Montague, performed most of the research for this very complex litigation, which involved choice-of-law questions between the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and state law. Her dedication to the case, considering her history of service, isn’t surprising. Schalman-Bergen began working at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania in 2007 as a student of Harvard Law School, where she advocated on behalf of HIV-positive individuals. After graduation, she was awarded the Shestack Public Interest Fellowship by Wolf Block, which allowed her to spend half her work time at the AIDS Law Project. When the fellowship ended, she took a voluntary pay cut to continue her work with the AIDS Law Project. She met her billing requirements for both firms while spending more than 300 hours over two years just for this case. She is currently an associate in Berger & Montague’s antitrust department.
Sean Summers Barley Snyder Sean Summers represents Al Snyder in a case that has gained national attention over the past few years and which is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Snyder has been battling Westboro Baptist Church in court for several years now, after members of the church protested at his son’s military funeral in 2006. The protestors claim that military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God’s retribution against the United States for tolerance of gay and lesbian individuals. Over the past few years, the protestors have demonstrated at many military funerals. With Summers representing him, Snyder sued the protestors and a jury in Baltimore awarded him significant damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. A federal court later overturned that verdict and in September 2009, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the protests were protected by the First Amendment. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case this fall. Summers’s own military background includes work as a prosecutor with the U. S. Army JAG Corps, as well as service in the U. S. Army Reserve as a JAG officer. He currently carries the rank of Major in the Army Reserve, having served at numerous locations and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan and previously served as the State Judge Advocate for the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars. A partner based in the firm’s York office, Summers is a member of the litigation group, where he helps clients resolve business disputes, claims and cases of all types.
Thomas W. Moore III Law Office of Thomas W. Moore III Thomas W. Moore III, a solo practitioner, has been a volunteer attorney for the PVLA since 2006. Especially notable is his work with the American Historical Theatre (AHT) a 25-year-old Philadelphia nonprofit arts and historic/cultural organization with a very modest annual operating budget that educates, entertains and inspires residents and visitors alike through character-based historical re-enactment. The AHT came to PVLA in 2009, looking for pro bono assistance in revamping long-outdated contracts to reflect accurate ownership of script material, protecting AHT from liabilities and conflicts and ensuring a productive and secure network of actors and client venues. Moore went above and beyond the scope of his initially assigned PVLA-sanctioned pro bono service with AHT â€” he dove in and handled a variety of matters. Soon after, he joined the board, and consults with AHT at least once a month. AHT notes that they are very pleased with Moore’s dedication, and that he was both quite industrious and highly intelligent with his work. Moore’s solo practice is based in Philadelphia and deals mainly with criminal defense and civil litigation matters.
James Franklin McNees Wallace & Nurick James Franklin, a first-year associate with the firm, accepted a pro bono case during his first week of employment with the firm. As a new graduate, he exhibited a great willingness to deal with whatever challenges the case presented. MidPenn Legal Services referred the client to the firm shortly after he lost his employment as an automotive mechanic. As part of his employment, the client supplied his own tools and other equipment. After the client’s termination, however, the employer refused to return the client’s property. To complicate matters, the employer was also the client’s landlord and was in the process of evicting the client. Moreover, because the client required his tools to obtain new employment, the client was unable to support his wife and children financially or to contribute financially to his legal issues. Upon taking the case, Franklin began negotiations with the employer’s counsel regarding the return of the client’s tools and property. The parties agreed upon a date for Franklin’s client to retrieve his tools and upon the terms of the retrieval. When health and financial issues developed on the meeting day, Franklin helped the client make alternative arrangements so he could still retrieve his tools, and was present on the day of the exchange to ensure all went smoothly. When a last-minute disagreement developed between the employer and the client, he was able to negotiate a resolution between the parties and draft an additional agreement addressing the issue. Accordingly, the client was able to recover his personal property and pursue new employment opportunities. As a new lawyer, Franklin found creative solutions to the issues presented and developed what will hopefully be a career-long appreciation for pro bono service. Franklin is an associate in the firm’s Harrisburg office and a member of the litigation and transportation, distribution and logistics groups.
The Group from Reed Smith After three years of protracted litigation and the work of firm lawyers Sara Begley, Joseph Tuso, Shannon McClure, Marc Goldich, Miriam Edelstein, Christian Mattioli, Nipun Patel and Robert Warring, as well as legal secretary Ruth Reber and paralegal Deborah Ford, the firm secured a settlement with the City of Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department in a case involving the treatment of religious materials belonging to prisoners in custody in the Criminal Justice Center (CJC). The client/prisoner alleged that his religious materials were mishandled and desecrated and that he was physically assaulted without justification. The settlement, agreed upon one week before trial in Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will include a change to the city’s written policies and procedures to safeguard any softbound religious materials confiscated from prisoners at the CJC, and mandates that materials be preserved and returned to the prisoner’s home institution upon departure from the CJC. In addition to this important policy change and the significant impact on criminal justice policy, the client received a monetary settlement. Begley is a partner and Edelstein is an associate in the employment and labor department. Tuso is a partner and McClure, Goldich, Mattioli, Patel and Warring are associates in the litigation and dispute resolution department.
Members of Pepper’s Mortgage Foreclosure Paralegal Intake Team include (seated, from left): Karen Aloia, Maria Decarlo, Kathryn Schroder, Jennifer Besa and Christiane Matuch; (standing, from left): Erica Place, Eli Cameron, Joseph DuBray, Josh Damm, Jordan Shuber and Kevin Kelly. Pictured at far right is Joseph A. Sullivan, special counsel and director of pro bono programs.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Paralegal Intake Team Pepper Hamilton Over the course of 2009, a team of 18 paralegals helped low-income Philadelphians save their homes by working as intake paralegals in the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Project every Thursday in Courtroom 676 in Philadelphia’s City Hall. Volunteers handle one, two or three half-day sessions each month, and all weekly sessions are covered. Working in teams of two, the paralegals are the first people distressed homeowners see when they enter the courtroom. The paralegals interview clients and complete intake forms. One team members said, We try to make them feel comfortable and relieve their stress. We try to lead them in the right direction, and they really appreciate it. The work is rewarding, too. One volunteer said, It is definitely rewarding to assist someone who comes to you thinking they are going to lose their home and be able to be part of the process making sure, in many cases, that it doesn’t happen. During the past year, we have met many people who have suffered such hardships, and yet the people in the courtroom, from the housing counselors to the volunteer attorneys and Philadelphia VIP to [Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas] Judge [Annette] Rizzo, are the most enthusiastic people I have ever met. The 2009 paralegals are: Karen Aloia, Jennifer Besa, Eli Cameron, Josh Damm, Maria DeCarlo, Catherine DiValentino, Joe DuBray, Nancy Foley, Janet Julianti, Kevin Kelly, Jameson Knoll, Judy Matour, Christiane Matuch, Erica Place, Lori Anne Roman, Kit Schroder, Jordan Shuber and Varsha Abraham.
Nakea Hurdle Nattiel Seay & Humble On Aug. 14, 2009, Nakea Hurdle read a newspaper story about Lateefah Savage, a five-foot-tall, 100 lb. mother of a 7-month-old daughter whom neighbors alleged had been challenged, then assaulted by a six-foot-tall, 180 lb. female police officer. Savage was in jail, charged with felony aggravated assault against the officer and unable to make bail. Subsequently, an elderly witness to the incident who had been married to a police officer wrote a letter to the Philadelphia Chief of Police, Charles Ramsey. This woman was so appalled at the police officer’s behavior that she also sent copies of letter to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Daily News. Ramsey placed the officer on desk duty pending an investigation. Another good Samaritan came along and paid Savage’s bail so she could go home to her baby. Hurdle, reading Savage’s story, swung into action, visiting Savage at the prison, going to the neighborhood to track down witnesses, and preparing and conducting Savage’s preliminary hearing. Hurdle is now assisting her firm in preparing for Savage’s upcoming criminal trial. The firm has expended well over $25,000 in costs and man-hours on the case, all pro bono, with more to come as the case progresses. Savage has been overcome with tears of joy that a small African-American law firm has come to her aid and provided her representation for free. Hurdle saw a fellow citizen in need and sprang to her aid without concern for monetary gain. As Hurdle herself said, This is why I became an attorney â€” to help people like Ms. Savage!
Michele Levy Homeless Advocacy Project Michele (Shelly) Levy is the managing attorney of the Homeless Advocacy Project, located in Philadelphia. Levy serves as a resource in the area of Supplemental Security Income benefits, presenting CLE courses on SSI and the ethics of pro bono work to the legal community. She not only supervises her own staff in countless such applications but also provides guidance to countless volunteers in Philadelphia firms in pursuing disability benefits for our clients. She is the past chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s The Problems of the Homeless Committee, which consists of private sector and public interest lawyers concerned about issues facing the homeless in Philadelphia. The Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) exists to meet the legal and advocacy needs of homeless individuals and families in Philadelphia. With a legal staff of 10 and a corps of 300 volunteer lawyers, paralegals and law students, HAP engages in direct outreach to homeless individuals in need of legal services.
Kate Sookhoo Fox Rothschild Kate Sookhoo of Fox Rothschild worked on a pro bono adoption case for the Legal Clinic for the Disabled that settled in 2009. Sookhoo provided free legal assistance to a Philadelphia man who wanted to adopt his grandson. Frank was disabled due to back surgery and was recently approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. He was referred to the LCD by the Social Security Administration. Frank’s 13-year-old grandson, Kevin, has lived with Frank and his wife, Anna, for most of his life. Frank and Anna wanted to officially adopt their grandson. Kevin’s mother lived with her husband in another city and was agreeable to the adoption. Kevin’s father was never in his son’s life and was believed to be incarcerated. Soohkoo volunteered to represent Frank and Anna in the adoption proceeding. Today, Frank and Anna are legally Kevin’s parents, and with the final adoption decree Sookhoo gained for them, they can also provide Kevin with a portion of Frank’s SSDI benefits.
Joseph Heffern Dechert Since 2003, Joseph Heffern has been a volunteer with the Homeless Advocacy Project. Heffern lends his time and expertise to meet with homeless individuals at HAP’s legal clinic at St. John’s Hospice and to represent them in their efforts to secure SSI disability benefits. He also mentors less experienced volunteer attorneys handling SSI cases. In October 2007, Joe met with Paul who required assistance obtaining SSI benefits for major depressive disorder and personality disorders. Paul, in his early 50s with a long history of homelessness, required constant emotional and moral support. Paul was a challenging client, often isolating himself and rarely venturing out of his supportive housing program. Paul needed help getting to the doctor, attending evaluations and related appointments. Had these responsibilities been left to Paul alone, his claim would certainly have been denied. Luckily for Paul, Heffern went above and beyond the role of Paul’s legal counsel, taking Paul to his various appointments, and, on one occasion, even taking him from his doctor to the emergency room and waiting with Paul until he was treated. This case necessitated two separate hearings and submission of two briefs. In November 2009, Paul was awarded SSI benefits and $15,000 in back benefits, providing some financial stability and resolution of his quest for benefits. Heffern not only represented Paul’s legal interests, he went the extra mile, providing much needed support and encouragement to this fragile client. Heffern is an associate in the firm’s intellectual property group and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He focuses on patent, trade secret and unfair competition litigation in the pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device industries.
Martin Duffey Cozen O’Connor Martin Duffey has worked as the pro bono attorney in a significant asylum case for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia that as been before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal on two occasions in the last four years. Duffey partnered with Ayodele Gansallo, senior staff attorney of HIAS and Council, to represent a young Honduran man, V.G., whose life was threatened by the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang for refusing to join them. At one point, the young man was beaten and kidnapped by gang members. Although deemed to be credible by an immigration judge, V.G. was denied asylum because the immigration judge ruled that V.G.’s claim of being in a particular social group of youth opposed to gang membership and who resist recruitment attempts was not grounds for asylum. The legal question of whether those refusing to join gangs because of their political or moral views constitute a particular social group is an emerging area of asylum law that is being highly litigated nationwide. Duffey won judicial review of the case from the 3rd Circuit, which remanded the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals for the purpose of considering whether such a social group existed. The BIA ruled against V.G. for the second time, and included an analysis of the law that is in opposition to one provided by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). The case returned to the 3rd Circuit and oral arguments were heard on Feb. 3, with Duffey as the lead attorney arguing the case. The importance of this case in the gang membership particular social group dialogue cannot be understated, both nationally and internationally. Duffey has donated hundreds of hours of his legal acumen and veteran litigation skills to ensuring the strongest legal arguments were presented. Duffey is a member of the firm practicing in the Philadelphia office’s subrogation and recovery department.
Brenda L. Marrero Community Legal Services Inc. In 2009, CLS staff attorney Brenda L. Marrero worked tirelessly to get widow’s benefits for her client, contacting eight different jurisdictions across the country to prove her client was never divorced. After her husband died, a 67-year-old disabled client came into Community Legal Services asking for assistance in filing an appeal for a denial of widow’s benefits. Ms. G had been married for years to her now-deceased husband. They separated in the 1970s but never divorced. Ms. G filed for widow’s benefits through the Social Security Administration and was denied because SSA stated she was not his legal spouse at the time of his death. CLS filed an appeal and researched SSA regulations regarding entitlement to widow’s benefits. The SSA case handler notified Marrero that the only way to prove Ms. G was still married to her husband at the time of his death was to obtain certifications from every jurisdiction in which he lived, proving he never filed a divorce decree. Marrero contacted the family court of each city the deceased husband lived in to find out how to obtain a certification that a Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce Decree was never filed. Marrero made points of contact within each family court to ensure the proper fees and documentation they required was submitted. In the end, eight different jurisdictions were contacted and Marrero successfully obtained certifications from each, proving her client’s deceased husband never did in fact divorce her. Ms. G was awarded over $25,000 in back benefits from SSA, as well as ongoing monthly benefits that are nearly twice her income prior to receiving widow’s benefits. Because of Marrero’s efforts, Ms. G is now able to remain financially stable and has significantly improved her quality of life.
Sarah Davies Cozen O’Connor Sarah Davies has been a volunteer attorney with the Support Center for Child Advocates since 2002. In the past eight years of dedicated service to the young people of Philadelphia, Davies has represented 15 children. In 2009, Davies represented two siblings, ages 9 and 12. They were not enrolled in school and their mother had failed to bring them to routine medical appointments. Neither had been immunized and their mother would not allow DHS to come into her home to investigate. Through Davies’ representation, both children were placed with their grandmother. Over the course of the last year, Davies visited the children at their grandmother’s home often, ensuring their safety and offering support. She interfaced with professionals providing services to the children to assess their needs and guarantee that the appropriate medical, social and mental health support services were in place for the family. She has regularly attended meetings with DHS to plan for the children’s permanency. Her representation in court has been invaluable in assuring that the court is aware of her clients’ needs as well as their wishes. Davies’ pleasant demeanor makes it easy for children to trust her. In a system where few adults listen to the wishes of a child, she has not only listened, but also responded. Her consistent presence in the life of her child clients is commendable and, for them, life-changing. Davies is a member in the firm’s Philadelphia office and the administrative partner in the firm’s commercial litigation department.
Dan Segal and Rebecca Santoro Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin Since January 2009, Dan Segal and Rebecca Santoro have worked and served tirelessly as pro bono co-counsel to the Juvenile Law Center in H.T. v Powell, et al., a civil rights class action lawsuit pending before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, seeking compensation for the children and parents who suffered emotional and financial damages as a consequence of the Luzerne County judicial corruption scandal. Segal and Santoro have lent their time, wisdom and good spirits to the Juvenile Law Center as its staff continues in its quest to redress the civil rights and other violations suffered by the children who appeared before former juvenile court judge Mark Ciavarella between 2003 and May 2008, in what is likely the largest judicial corruption scandal in the history of the United States. From the drafting of the initial complaint, through pre-trial motions practice, hearings, pre-trial conferences and arguments, from their masterful analysis of complex legal claims and engagement with the Luzerne community, Segal and Santoro have been equal partners. Without what must surely be hundreds if not thousands of hours of pro bono legal assistance they have contributed, the Juvenile Law Center could not have spearheaded and carried on this critical litigation. They have dedicated themselves to the litigation, willingly pushing other matters aside or simply working twice as hard. Segal is a member in the firm’s litigation and education practice groups. Santoro is an associate in the litigation practice group. Both are resident in the firm’s Philadelphia office.
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