About the Excellence Awards
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards honor members and friends of the legal aid community who exemplify excellence in their commitment and accomplishments as advocates for low-income people.
Nominations are made in the following categories:
Legal Services Staff
This category is for all staff positions. We are seeking nominations for employees who exhibit excellence and commitment in the performance of the duties of their jobs;
This category is for members of the private bar who display an outstanding commitment to legal aid and the legal needs of low-income Pennsylvanians;
This category is for client leaders, organizational partners, or others who have donated significant time and energy to the mission of legal aid and the needs of low-income people.
This category is for volunteers and friends who demonstrate exceptional dedication to legal aid. It may include legislators or government officials, clients, community leaders, or others who help promote the mission of legal aid.
Nominations are open to everyone. You do not have to be a member of the legal aid community to submit a nomination. You also do not have to be a member of a particular category to submit a nomination in that category. There is no limit to the number of nominations you may submit.
Nominations usually open in the last quarter of each calendar year for the awards to be made in the spring of the following year.
Specific information on nominations and a submission form will be posted here when nomination open for next year's awards.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Presents 2011 Excellence Awards
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network presented its 2011 Excellence Awards at the annual awards dinner on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers.
The list of recipients includes a variety of civil legal aid professionals and friends of civil legal aid across Pennsylvania who were recognized for their efforts in support of the clients served by the civil legal programs of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.
Individuals presented with the 2011 PLAN Excellence Award include:
2011 Excellence Awards - Video Tributes
Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services Inc., Philadelphia, PA
- Cheryl Coe
Paralegal, North Penn Legal Services, Towanda, PA
- Jesse W. Edison
Client Advocate, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Corapolis, PA
- Phyllis E. Guillaume
Chief Financial Officer, Regional Housing Legal Services, Glenside, PA
- Joseph A. Tate, Esq.
Private Bar Volunteer, Dechert, LLP, Philadelphia, PA
Mary Richardson Graham
Senior, Development Officer, Community Legal Services Inc., Philadelphia, PA
- Thomas A. Tupitza, Esq.
Private Bar Volunteer, Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C., Erie, PA
- Karen Tyler
Paralegal, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Chester, PA
- Brenda Zimmerman, Esq.
Attorney, MidPenn Legal Services, Lewistown, PA
"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," said Samuel W. Milkes Esq., Executive Director of PLAN. “Our Excellence Award recipients epitomize the tireless efforts of legal aid advocates and friends in the private bar who work to deliver on the promise of justice for all.”
|Pennsylvania Loan Repayment Assistance Program|
The Excellence Awards program at the dinner included special recognition of those individuals and groups involved in the creation of Pennsylvania’s statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).
Pennsylvania’s LRAP program will provide financial assistance to 75 public interest attorneys and will assist the 25 IOLTA funded organizations in the recruitment and retention of program lawyers.
This program, which began in June 2010, helps to expand and retain the pool of talented attorneys who are pursuing public service to assist underrepresented Pennsylvanians. Civil legal aid programs across Pennsylvania have struggled to hire and retain qualified legal talent and relieving the debt burden of some new lawyers helps to ease that challenge. Recognition of the LRAP program included the presentation of the video appearing above at the award program dinner.
The event's keynote speaker was Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa, a former Excellence Award recipient in 2005 for his leadership and support in the development of the Older & Wiser program. Older & Wiser is a public education program designed to provide legal information to older Pennsylvanians through a unique partnership of state legislators, legal aid programs, bar associations, pro bono attorneys,law firm, foundations and businesses.
“The work of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is honorable and vitally important as more of our residents require civil legal assistance in resolving critical problems involving such basic needs as shelter, health care, income and personal safety,” said Senator Costa. “I applaud these individuals, who everyday give those who have nowhere else to turn, equal access to justice.”