Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Announces 2016 Excellence Award Recipients


​​Excellence Awards 2016The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards.  

The mission of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is to ensure equal access to justice so that Pennsylvanians can have representation when facing important civil legal concerns affecting their safety, health, shelter and survival.

Each year, PLAN requests nominations from across the Commonwealth and honors individuals, groups, and/or organizations that have established excellence and demonstrated diligence improving the availability and quality of civil legal services for low income people and victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania.

The recipients of the 2016 Excellence Awards are:

Joseph R. DeCristopher, Esq.
Staff Attorney, North Penn Legal Services, Sunbury, PA

FedEx Ground 
Corporate Legal Department, Moon Township, PA 

William Gibbons, Esq.
Senior Attorney, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, PA

Hardwood Estates Project Team 

  • Wendy Carter, Director of Housing Administration, PathStone Corporation, Harrisburg, PA
  • Nancy Close, Hardwood Estates Resident Association, Conneaut Lake, PA  
  • Robert Damewood, Esq., Staff Attorney, Regional Housing Legal Services, Pittsburgh, PA 
  • Carla Falkenstein, Director of West Region, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Kenneth Joseph, Esq., Of Counsel, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Pittsburgh, PA 
  • PA Department of Environmental Protection Safe Drinking Water Program
  • Mel Reinhart, Hardwood Estates Resident Association, Conneaut Lake, PA
  • Charles G. Scalise, President & CEO, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Erie, Erie, PA
  • Wesley S. Speary, Esq., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 

Rochelle L. Jackson
Public Policy Advocate, Just Harvest and Board Member, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Pittsburgh, PA

Mark A. Krochka, Esq.
Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, New Castle, PA 

Matthew D. Lee, Esq.
Partner, Blank Rome LLP/Pro Bono Volunteer, Philadelphia VIP, Philadelphia, PA

Jeffrey A. Mills, Esq.
Partner, Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, Lancaster, PA

Excellence Award in Cy Pres Advocacy

The following law firms will receive the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award for their Cy Pres Support of Legal Services to the Pennsylvania IOLTA Board and its grantees:

  • Barrack, Rodos & Bacine (Mark Rosen, Esq.), Philadelphia PA
  • Donovan Axler, LLC (Michael D. Donovan, Esq.), Philadelphia, PA 
  • Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock, Dodig LLP, (Alan M. Feldman, Esq.), Philadelphia, PA
  • Francis & Mailman, PC (James Francis, Esq.), Berwyn, PA 
  • Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer & Check, LLP (Lee D. Rudy, Esq.),  Radnor, PA
  • Wohl & Fruchter LLP (Ethan D. Wohl, Esq.), New York, NY

The 2016 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards will be presented at the awards dinner on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at the Hilton Harrisburg. A social hour will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., immediately followed by a buffet dinner.