HARRISBURG (June 4, 2018) — J. Denny Shupe, a litigation partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP in Philadelphia and Harry J. Cooper, a Bucks County criminal defense lawyer, will each receive a Pennsylvania Bar Association Jeffrey A. Ernico Award on June 21 at a reception at Schnader’s Philadelphia office. They are being honored for their work in support of veterans.
The Ernico Award is presented occasionally by the PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee and is given to individuals and groups providing a unique service that has resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the neediest among us.
“I applaud the important work that Denny Shupe and Harry Cooper have done and continue to do for our active military service members and veterans,” said PBA President Charles Eppolito III. “Their dedication to pro bono service, and the law, sets a high precedent for members of the legal community to follow.”
“Their sense of need for legal assistance and willingness to give up their valuable time and talent has no doubt made an enormous difference in the lives of many of the people they have served,” Jeffrey A. Ernico, senior counsel at Mette, Evans & Woodside in Harrisburg and a dedicated advocate of pro bono work for whom the award is named. “Bravo and thank you, Denny and Harry.”
Shupe is being recognized for his service as an excellent model for leadership in pro bono and public interest legal service. Shupe, an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force officer and command pilot, currently chairs the Special Problems in the Administration of Justice Committee (U.S.) for the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). Shupe is one of the leaders in the ACTL’s nationwide effort to develop and implement a groundbreaking project to address the more than four-year backlog in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ processing and selection of disability award appeals for U.S. military veterans, delays that deny constitutional due process and can deny veterans the financial resources they need for daily living.
Shupe has also been instrumental in connecting his national pro bono and community service work to more local efforts for currently serving military personnel, their families and veterans. He has helped the Military Assistance Project (MAP), a local military support organization based in Philadelphia, find volunteer attorneys to meet the legal needs of service members and veterans. Shupe serves as an advisor and mentor for Penn Law Veterans, a group which assists law students who are military veterans. In recent years, while he was co-chair and chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Military Affairs Committee, Shupe also supported the Veterans Multi-Service Center, which has Pennsylvania locations in Philadelphia, Coatesville and State College, as well as Millville, N.J.
For many years Shupe served on the Board of Directors of the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey as a member and former chairman, and also was elected as the national chairman of the USO Affiliate Council, where he assisted with national fundraising and service delivery programs for actively serving armed services members and their families. Since leaving the USO board, he has continued to support the efforts of the local Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey USO organization.
Shupe has also provided direct pro bono representation in cases ranging from prisoner rights to family law matters.
Cooper is being honored for his support of the veteran’s outreach efforts of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Office, beginning with his service starting in 2003 as a Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) volunteer and continuing today with his pro bono efforts under the Lawyers Saluting Veterans program. A former chief of police in New Britain Township, Bucks County, Cooper’s pro bono efforts for poor veterans in southeastern Pennsylvania are diverse, ranging from advice to direct representation for both criminal and civil matters. Cooper is a volunteer for the PBA Young Lawyers Division Wills for Heroes program that helps both first responders and veterans with basic estate planning.
Cooper is a past recipient of a PBA Pro Bono Award for “routinely providing more than 100 hours of such service each year, taking some of the toughest cases that come into the PBA Pro Bono Office, particularly for veterans facing a myriad of problems, both civil and criminal.” Cooper is also a gifted educator, having a long history of helping teach young people—as well as educators, law and justice professionals and others—about the law.
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 26,000 lawyers who are members of the association.