Down by the Riverside

By Vince Brocki, Northwestern Legal Services
Reprint permission from the Erie County Bar Association

The Erie County Bar Association, in cooperation with Northwestern Legal Services (NWLS), presented two CLE seminars on Thursday, August 22, 2002, at the Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs. More than 20 attorneys attended the classes that were offered free-of-charge to Legal Aid Volunteer Attorneys (LAVA) and/or those willing to provide pro bono services to low-income clients. NWLS staff and board members also attended the classes. The seminars were held in conjunction with the annual NWLS staff retreat.

"LAVA is a model program for the administration of pro bono civil legal services to low-income clients in Pennsylvania. We were delighted to have an opportunity to reward the efforts of local attorneys who are active in pro bono,” explained attorney Robert A. Oakley, NWLS executive director. “Topics for the seminars focused on areas of the law that are important in serving the civil legal needs of low-income clients. The NWLS paid all costs for the CLE.”

"An Introduction to Consumer Bankruptcy" was facilitated by attorney William Pineo, Chapter 7 standing trustee for Mercer and Beaver Counties, and attorney John Nagurney, a member of the Crawford County Bar Association with an active practice in bankruptcy, representing creditors and debtors since 1978. The afternoon session, "Consumer Protection and the Low-income Consumer" was lead by ECBA-member attorney Gary Nash, who before entering private practice served as a deputy attorney general and attorney-in-charge of the Erie office of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Evaluation forms from the sessions included comments such as, "Excellent presenters. . .Very practical, very useful, and presented well. . . This was a great CLE!" Attendees also appreciated the comfortable surroundings of the Riverside Inn.

"Given the positive feedback we received from all those in attendance, we would like to join the ECBA in presenting CLE seminars to LAVA participants again next year," Oakley added.