Ernico Award

The Jeffrey A. Ernico Award
The Ernico Award celebrates the pro bono accomplishments of Harrisburg attorney Jeffrey A. Ernico and his long-standing commitment to equal justice and serving those who had nowhere else to turn. The Ernico Award is an occasional award of the PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee that is to be given to such individuals and groups as the committee, from time to time, determines have provided unique service that has resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the neediest among us.

At a March 2006 reception hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network and the law firm of Mette, Evans and Woodside honoring Ernico, he noted that "The only bad thing about having an award like this named after you while you are still alive is that you have to keep behaving well so they do not take the award away." Given Ernico's commitment to pro bono service - he ran from the breakfast to the board meeting for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network - no one is worried about the award losing its luster.

The first recipient of the Jeffrey A. Ernico Award was Jim Carroll, former president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, who received the award in September 2005 from then-PBA President-elect Ken Horoho. Carroll was honored for his work as ACBA president, his accomplishments included hiring the first full-time pro bono coordinator and organizing a loan forgiveness program for public interest attorneys.

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.

Jewell Honored with PBA's Ernico Award at Lancaster Event, Feb. 27, 2013
The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Legal Services to the Public Committee has honored late Lancaster County lawyer Kenneth R. Jewell with its Jeffrey A. Ernico Award.

The award celebrates the pro bono accomplishments of Harrisburg attorney Jeffrey A. Ernico and his longstanding commitment to equal justice and serving those who have nowhere else to turn. It is an occasional award of the PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee, given to such individuals and groups as the committee from time to time determines have provided unique service that has resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the neediest among us.

Ernico, along with Matthew J. Creme Jr., PBA immediate past president, and Samuel W. Milkes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, presented the award to Caroline Hoffer, Chair of the Memorial Resolution Committee, for Jewell's widow, Rosemary, at the Lancaster Bar Association memorial for Jewell, held Feb. 27, 2013.

Jewell was recognized by the LBA and the PBA for his outstanding community service through pro bono contributions. In 1998 he was awarded the LBA's Access to Justice Award, and in 2002 he received the PBA Pro Bono Award. His dedication to public service started long before those awards were given. Jewell, together with other LBA members, founded the Lancaster Mediation Center in 1979 and served on its Board of Directors for 16 years, including a three-year term as president. He also championed access to justice as the initial coordinator of the LBA's Pro Bono Program, later named the LBA Volunteer Attorney Program, and served as an active member of the program. In 1990 Jewell testified as chair of the LBA Public Services Committee before the PBA Task Force for Legal Services to the Needy. He was twice quoted in the important and widely distributed report prepared by the task force regarding the inequality of justice for those in court without representation.

Former LBA President Greg Paulson was chair of the LBA Public Service Committee when the LBA Pro Bono Program debuted in 1982. According to Paulson, "Ken was one of the founding fathers of pro bono in Lancaster County. He was incredibly bright, good-humored and warm to all. He was truly dedicated to helping the underprivileged. His role as the first pro bono coordinator set the tone and the drive for the program's success, even today."

Jewell is the sixth recipient of the Ernico Award since it was created in 2006. His award reads: "A champion of justice for those in need, Kenneth R. Jewell was dedicated to public service throughout his career. His outstanding community service through pro bono contributions worked to balance the inequality of justice for those in court without representation."

In the photo above Caroline Hoffer, Chair of the Memorial Resolution Committee, accepts the award for Jewell's widow, Rosemary, with Creme and Milkes to her left.

Other Past Ernico Award Winners

Elizabeth R. Price
The PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee presented its fifth Jeffrey A. Ernico Award to Elizabeth Price, the Delaware County Bar Executive, for her work in promoting legal aid and pro bono service in Delaware County and beyond. Price was instrumental in the success of a number of public service efforts. Illness kept her from receiving her award, which was given posthumously to her family. A January 2011 ceremony to acknowledge her award by the Delaware County bar is planned.

Kathleen Smith
The PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee presented its fourth Jeffrey A. Ernico Award to Philadelphia County attorney and Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) administrator Kathleen Smith in August 2008 for her work in promoting pro bono service through the Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society and for being instrumental in making CCP a center for public service. Pictured below, PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David K. Trevaskis presents the award to Ms. Smith. (CCP was the first academic institution to host Wills for Heroes in Pennsylvania and has been a great partner of the PBA's Pro Bono Office, hosting clinics and providing student and faculty volunteers for a host of public interest programs.)

Cary L. Flitter

Michael Paul Malakoff