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Dauphin County Pro Bono

Pro Bono Driver's License Restoration Intake Clinic
Much like a criminal record, the lack of a valid driver's license can be a significant roadblock to employment. Yet, some job applicants may qualify for a limited license or have other viable options. Dauphin County Bar Association's (DCBA) successful Pro Bono Expungement Clinics served as a model for a new Pro Bono Driver's License Restoration Intake Clinic led by DCBA Board President Edward F. Spreha Jr. on Dec. 1, 2016. Spreha led a one-hour CLE on the topic that was free for attorneys willing to assist with the intake clinic or represent clients afterwards. Attorneys unable to attend were able to view a video. The clinic began with Spreha reviewing the law and procedures with 14 pro bono attorneys. Then, after a brief overview of the law with the 47 attendees, pro bono attorneys met with applicants one-on-one to review possible options. Spreha supervised the pro bono attorneys. MidPenn Legal Services is reviewing the intake information and will assign pro bono attorneys to participants who have possible legal options. For more information, contact DCBA Public Services Coordinator Sandy Ballard (sandy@dcba-pa.org).

Pro Bono Opportunities in Dauphin County During Pro Bono Week, Oct. 17-28, 2016
Including Oct. 17 at 9:45 a.m., custody conference; Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m., pre-trial custody conference; Oct. 28 at 1:45 p.m., custody conference. Get more information.

Turner of Dauphin County Receives 2016 Pro Bono Award, October 2016
Shown below at the presentation of a PBA Pro Bono Award to Steven Turner are, from left, county President Judge Richard A. Lewis, Dauphin County Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinator Sandy Ballard, Turner and PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David K. Trevaskis.

MidPenn Legal Services 2015-16 Fact Sheet, Posted January 2017
The legal-aid provider in Dauphin County is MidPenn Legal Services. Read the overview of the MidPenn's services to counties in 2015-16. Read the report on MidPenn's services in Dauphin County in 2015-16.

U.S. Sen. Casey Co-Hosts Public Forum on IRS Plans to Reduce Taxpayer Services, April 8, 2016
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina A. Olson co-host a forum on plans announced by the Internal Revenue Service to reduce telephone and face-to-face services to taxpayers. The public forum will be held in the Harrisburg University Auditorium, Harrisburg, on April 8, with Robert B. Hamilton, managing attorney of MidPenn Legal Services’ Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, a panelist at the event. Get more information.

Pro Bono Awards Presentations in Dauphin County, Sept. 30, 2015
In the photos below, taken at the 2015 Dauphin County Bar Association’s Fall Membership Meeting, PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David K. Trevaskis presents the 2015 PBA Pro Bono Partner Award to Rose Merrick of Harrisburg law firm of Goldberg Katzman and a 2015 PBA Pro Bono Award to Jeremiah Underhill.

Pro Bono Mediation at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Sept. 24, 2015
The program (three substantive credits) to be held at the Dauphin County Bar Association, Harrisburg, features Katherine S. Petruczok of the Human Relations Commission and Jim Kayer, director of enforcement. This will be a three-hour CLE, with lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the program running from noon to 3:00 p.m. Registration deadline is Sept. 17, 2015. The program is free to any attorney willing to assist with a pro bono mediation for the Human Relations Commission. Otherwise, the cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members. Register online at https://www.dcba-pa.org/Calendar/Signup.aspx?EventNo=425. If you do not wish to register online, please email Bridgette@dcba-pa.org; call 232-7536, option #4, or fax the registration form located at https://www.dcba-pa.org/pdfs/eventAds/092415flyer.pdf to 717-234-4582.

DCBA Free Training for Member Certification to Accept Veterans’ Disability Appeals Cases, April 23, 2015
The Dauphin County Bar Association holds training for DCBA members free of charge to become certified to accept veterans’ disability appeals cases on April 25, 2-5:30 p.m., at the DCBA, Harrisburg. Get more information from the DCBA and from PA Probono.net.

Dauphin County Bar Association Pro Bono Reception April 1, 2015
The annual Dauphin County Bar Association (DCBA) Pro Bono Reception with the judges of the local courts to say thank you to all the hard-working pro bono attorneys, paralegals and law students in the county will be held on April 1, 5-7 p.m., at the DCBA, 213 North Front Street, Harrisburg. Read the invitation letter from President Judge Richard A. Lewis.

DCBA Members Counsel Homeless Vets, Feb. 2, 2015
Dauphin County lawyers offered legal advice to homeless veterans at the Harrisburg Military Post on Feb. 2, 2015, as part of the Dauphin County Bar Association-supported HOMELESS VETERANS Stand Down program. Standing at left in the photo below is Jim Strupe. Seated, from left, are Karen Moyers, Joe Schwartz and Patrick Todd.

MidPenn Legal Services Dauphin County Office Fact Sheet, FY 2014-15
MidPenn Legal Services Program-Wide Fact Sheet, FY 2014-15

Ernico Award Presented to Dauphin County Court Administrator Freeman, Oct. 1, 2014
The PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee has honored Deborah S. Freeman, court administrator for the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, with the Ernico Award. The award celebrates the pro bono accomplishments of Harrisburg attorney Jeffrey A. Ernico and his longstanding commitment to equal justice and to serving those who have nowhere else to turn. An occasional award, it is given to individuals and groups that the committee determines have provided unique service that has resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the needy. Freeman is the seventh recipient of the award since it was created in 2006. Her award reads: "A champion of access to justice, Deborah S. Freeman has been dedicated to public service throughout her career. Her leadership in opening the courts of Dauphin County to those in need is a model for the Commonwealth to follow." The award was presented by Enrico and Lisa M. Benzie, chair of the PBA House of Delegates.

In the photo above, from left, at the award presentation are PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis, Benzie, Freeman, Ernico and Rhodia Thomas, executive director of MidPenn Legal Services.

Need help with a legal problem? Numbers to Call in Dauphin County

DCBA Pro Bono Lawyer of Year Award

'Wills for Heroes' County Coordinator Training in Hershey, Sept. 26-27, 2014
"Wills for Heroes," the program co-sponsored by the PBA Young Lawyers Division to provide free estate-planning documents for Pennsylvania first responders and military veterans, is seeking county coordinators. See the online map of counties in need of coordinators. Read more about the role of county coordinators and how to sign up for training Sept. 26 in Hershey. Click here for more program information, including a list of upcoming "Wills for Heroes" events. For more information about the training and “Wills for Heroes” session, contact the PBA's Maria Engles by phone, 800-932-0311, ext. 2223, and by email at maria.engles@pabar.org.

Widener Harrisburg and DCBA Partner on Program for New Solo, Small-Firm Lawyers, July 2014
The Widener Law campus in Harrisburg is partnering with the Dauphin County Bar Association on a new incubator program for new attorneys who want to start their own solo or small law firms. Read the Widener news release of July 3, 2014.

Dauphin County Bar Association Unveiled Veterans Disability Referral Service, Dec. 3, 2013
Dec. 3, 2013, marked a celebration more than three years in the planning as the Dauphin County Bar Association (DCBA) unveiled its Veterans Disability Referral Service, which it created in partnership with the PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs (MVA) Committee and the PBA Pro Bono Office. Twenty-two local lawyer recruits freshly trained in October by retired Widener Law professor Tom Reed and Harrisburg attorney Jeremiah Underhill, both MVA Committee members, are now serving veterans in the midstate region. Underhill, who ran Widener's Harrisburg Veterans Law Clinic from 2007 until its closure in 2010, had been trying to organize a successor service to help vets with appeals ever since. Under the new program, and according to government guidelines, prospective clients must have been denied VA disability benefits and be ready to appeal those refusals before attorneys in the referral program can offer help. Veterans whose incomes are at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for free aid and government-set contingency fee rates will apply for less needy clients. Ten percent of the income from contingency fees is to go back into the program. Underhill notes the importance of representation: "If a person has an attorney, they're 25 times more likely to get a positive outcome." Veterans in need of help and lawyers interested in joining the program can call the DCBA at 717-232-7536. Pictured below are Underhill (front, fourth from left), Dauphin County Bar Executive Liz Simcox (front, fifth from left) and other leaders of the DCBA program at a reception in honor of the program.

Dauphin County Bar Participates in National Pro Bono Week 2013

Veterans Disability Referral Service Training in Harrisburg, Oct. 4, 2013
Professor Tom Reed and Jeremiah Underhill conduct Veterans Disability Referral Service Training at the Dauphin County Bar Association, Harrisburg, on Oct. 4. Go to the county bar website for information and to register.

Limited Appearance Forms, April 2013
Attached are the Limited Appearance Order, Limited Entry and Limited Appearance Withdrawal forms that volunteers in Lackawanna County have been using. These have been modified for proposed use in Dauphin County.

Castille, DCBA Honor Pro Bono Efforts, Feb. 19, 2013
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille was on hand as PBA staff attorneys were among those honored at the Dauphin County Bar Association's Pro Bono Reception recognizing local pro bono attorneys on Feb. 19. Gabriele Miller Wagner, PBA pro bono program administrative assistant, also was honored as a non-attorney partner for her volunteer work with the PBA Young Lawyers Division's Wills for Heroes program. Shown below at the event are, from left, Jonathan Kunkel, DCBA president; Castille; Mary Catherine Scott, Widener University School of Law professor and pro bono attorney; Sandy Ballard, DCBA Public Service Committee chair; and Dauphin County President Judge Todd A. Hoover.

Dauphin County Pro Bono Guardian Monitor Sherry Baskin Receives 2012 PBA Pro Bono Award

Hershey Lawyer Wimmer in 'Video Quilt' as Part of 2012 National Pro Bono Celebration
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched the National Pro Bono Celebration, held Oct. 21 to 27, 2012, to help address the increasing need for pro bono services during these harsh economic times and to recognize the unprecedented response of pro bono attorneys to meet this demand.

Goals for the celebration included: 1) Recruiting more pro bono attorneys and increasing legal services to poor and vulnerable people; 2) mobilizing community support for pro bono; 3) fostering collaborative relationships; and 4) recognizing the pro bono efforts of America's lawyers. The committee created a website to maximize participation in the National Pro Bono Celebration.

The website featured a "video quilt" of pro bono stories. As the website explained, "Every day, lives are changed when our poorest and most vulnerable citizens gain access to the legal system. Listen to public interest advocates tell stories of justice that significantly impacted the lives of their clients as well as their own." Thanks to Lafayette College intern Ryan Crumlish, several Dauphin County pro bono attorneys were featured on this video quilt. Here is one of their stories:
Thomas A. Wimmer is a solo practitioner in Hershey, Pa. He is also of counsel for the firm Alperstein and Associates. He frequently takes pro bono and modest means cases. Recently he took a custody case, where he represented Dwayne Richardson (not the client's real name) at a custody conciliation conference.

What did you do for your client? "My client was interested in obtaining joint legal custody of his daughter. His ex-wife had sole legal custody and he wanted to be able to help make legal decisions regarding her education, her religious upbringing and any medical treatment his daughter might need. We were able to do that for him and we were also able to get a better visitation schedule granting him more time with his daughter and more regular visits so they could bond as a family again."

How did that affect the client's life? "I think he was ecstatic and, quite frankly, I was, too. He is now able to be a father to his daughter."

How did that affect your life? "One of the things that I found best about pro bono work is a sense of immediate gratification that you don't always get in other areas of the law. My practice is mainly litigation, which can take months to years before you get a result. In most of the pro bono cases that I have handled, there is an almost immediate feeling that just a few hours of my time can result in a major long term benefit to clients such as Dwayne."

Consumer Protection Attorney Position Funded at MidPenn Legal Services, July 18, 2012

Dauphin County Bar Foundation Custody Attorney Campaign Donor Update, May 2012

ABA President Visits MidPenn Legal Services, Nov. 9, 2011
On Nov. 9, American Bar Association President William T. Robinson III visited the Harrisburg office of MidPenn Legal Services, the legal aid program providing vital legal services in the 18 county area of central Pennsylvania. During the visit he expressed concern about adequate funding for legal services. Robinson is shown below (center, with lapel pin) during his visit. Click here for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network news release on the event.

MidPenn Legal Services Dauphin/Perry County Office Fact Sheet, FY 2010-11
MidPenn Legal Services Program-Wide Fact Sheet, FY 2010-11

Dauphin County Legal Resources, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call? A Guide to Referring Callers to Legal Services, 2011

DCBA Reports a Huge Pro Bono Spring in 2011!

Dauphin County: Child Advocacy Program Offers Three Hours of CLE, March 22, 2011

Dauphin County Bar Foundation’s ‘We Care About Children’ Campaign Joined in Funding Custody Attorney at MidPenn Legal Services, Feb. 1, 2011

Pro Bono Update – January 2011

MidPenn Legal Services Dauphin/Perry County Office Fact Sheet, FY 2009-10
MidPenn Legal Services Program-Wide Fact Sheet, FY 2009-10

Dauphin County attorney Dorothy Mott (second from left) receives her 2010 Pro Bono Award at Committee/Section Day in Harrisburg on Nov. 18, 2010, from PBA President Gretchen Mundorff (third from left) as Legal Services to the Public Co-Chairs Vicki Coyle (far left) and Sandy Ballard (far right) look on. Mott's award nomination captures her special service: "Not only has Dorie Mott and her firm donated countless hours, they are also willing to take emergency pro bono bankruptcy cases. MidPenn Legal Services has other pro bono attorneys that are willing to take regular pro bono bankruptcy cases. However, Dorie's efforts are unique and especially worthy of recognition due to Dorie's repeated willingness to take these frequent emergency cases."

Veterans Law Clinic Branch Program at Widener Harrisburg Campus to Close June 30, 2010

Wills for Heroes Event at Widener Law’s Harrisburg Campus on April 17, 2010

2009 Modest Means Panel Attorney Survey

2009 Pro Bono Honor Roll

McNees Wallace Celebrates Anniversary with Increased Commitment to Pro Bono
The Harrisburg-based law firm of McNees Wallace & Nurick L.L.C. is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, and the firm is giving back to the community by taking on additional charitable activities every month. January kicks off the firm's year-long enhanced commitment to pro bono service.
Click here for more on the firm's pro bono efforts. “From Jim DeAngelo, the firm's pro bono coordinator, to others across the firm, McNees is a great model for private/public partnership in reaching out to help the neediest among us,” said PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis.

MidPenn Legal Services Dauphin/Perry County Office Fact Sheet, FY 2008-09
MidPenn Legal Services Program-Wide Fact Sheet, FY 2008-09

Pro Bono Options in Dauphin County, Dec. 9, 2009
DCBA Initiatives for 2009 National Pro Bono Week and Prior Years
Pro Bono Leadership and Opportunities, October 2009
Draft Handbook for Pro Bono Attorneys, June 2009
Pro Bono Assistance for Nonprofits
        Fact Sheet
Civics Education Alliance Involves Lawyers, Judges in Harrisburg Schools in 2009
2008 Pro Bono Honor Roll
Pro Bono Opportunities for Government Lawyers Program, 2008
Dauphin County Bar Association Nonprofit Initiative, 2008
        Fact Sheet on Guidelines
        Application for Pro Bono Legal Assistance
Modest Means Referrals, 2008
DCBA Pro Bono Letter, June 5, 2007
Local MidPenn Office Information Sheet, 2007
County Pro Bono News February 2007
2006 Pro Bono Program Participants
DCBA Nonprofit Initiative
Self Help Center Summary, October 2006
Nonprofit Initiative, Application for Pro Bono Legal Assistance, October 2006
The ABC’s of Pro Bono in Dauphin County
A Sample of Pro Bono Success in Dauphin County
February 2004 Pro Bono Recognition from Dauphin County
Paralegal Honored for New Pro Bono Project
Pro Bono Attorney Handbook
Pro Bono Program Participants
Letter From Judges
Pro Bono Bankruptcy Program
Pro Bono photos
Dauphin County Family Feud
DCBA 2005 Pro Bono Honor Roll
May 2004 DCBA Pro Bono Program
Free Legal Services
Top Ten Pro Bono Tips
County Bar Contact Information
Pro Bono Opportunities
Mediation Agreement
A Pro Bono Success Story
Nonprofit Concept Paper
2005 Client Survey Results
Lawyer Referral Service Survey
2005 Modest Means Panel Questionnaire Answers
2005 Lost Boys Survey Results
Homeless Outreach Project Form