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Harrisburg Lawyer to Receive Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division

HARRISBURG (April 13, 2012) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will present its Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award to Samara A. Gomez of Harrisburg during the state association's Annual Meeting on May 10 at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster.

The award is named in memory of a young Philadelphia lawyer committed to providing legal services for low-income people and to offering law-related educational programs to students. The award is presented to a Pennsylvania young lawyer who, through his or her exemplary personal and professional conduct, reminds lawyers of their professional and community responsibilities.

Active in the PBA, Gomez is currently the Zone Three co-chair of the association's Young Lawyers Division Executive Council and a member of the 2011-2012 class of the Pennsylvania Bar Leadership Institute. Gomez also served two terms as co-chair of Minority Bar Committee's Government Attorneys Subcommittee.

Last year, Gomez implemented a pilot Bar Passage Program for the PBA Young Lawyers Division. The program partnered bar candidates with lawyer mentors to help the candidates prepare for the essay portion of the bar examination. Gomez worked with law schools and various organizations to obtain past bar essay questions and arranged for speakers to educate test-takers about the bar examination process.

Gomez currently serves as assistant counsel for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Her practice areas focus on affordable housing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, consumer lending, community development programs, tax, foreclosure, real estate, employment matters and contracts and procurement.

In March 2009, Gomez participated as an author and panelist for the continuing legal education course, "Avoiding Foreclosure: Helping Families Keep Their Homes."

Gomez holds degrees from Howard University and the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. While in law school, she served as an intern at the Family Law Clinic, the Capital Litigation Appeals Division of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, Laurel Legal Services and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 28,000 lawyers who are members of the association.