Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Announces 2020 Excellence Award Honorees


PLAN Excellence AwardThe Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award. The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards recognize legal aid attorneys, paralegals, support staff and friends of civil legal aid who support the clients served by the civil legal programs that comprise the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. 

PLAN solicited nominations from across the Commonwealth and based its selection on a variety of criteria that demonstrated excellence and diligence in helping improve the availability and quality of civil legal services for low income people and victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania. 

The 2020 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award  honorees are:

  • Wesley C. Allen, Esq. 
    Senior Attorney, Family Advocacy Unit • Community Legal Services • Philadelphia, PA
  • Mardi Busanus 
    Volunteer • Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania • Doylestown, PA
  • El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA) 
    El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (The Farmworkers Support Committee) • Kennett Square, PA
  • Robert Damewood, Esq. 
    Staff Attorney • Regional Housing Legal Services • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Erin Guay 
    Paralegal • Pennsylvania Health Law Project • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Samuel R. Grego, Esq. 
    Principal • Dickie McCamey, & Chilcote, P.C. • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Gabriele Miller-Wagner 
    Administrative Assistant, Pro Bono Department • Pennsylvania Bar Association • Harrisburg, PA
  • Matthew S. Rich, Esq. 
    Staff Attorney • MidPenn Legal Services • Harrisburg, PA
  • Joan M. Tutak, Esq.  
    Senior Attorney • Neighborhood Legal Services • Butler, PA

The Award recipients will be formally honored at the PLAN Excellence Award Banquet on Tuesday March 31, 2020 , at the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel in Harrisburg, PA.  The ceremony will feature a video tribute of each honoree highlighting their accomplishments. 

For more information on the 2020 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards including banquet reservations, program advertising, and event sponsorship opportunities, please visit our website at www.palegalaid.net or contact Christine Kirby via email at ckirby@palegalaid.net


PLAN Excellence AwardPennsylvania Legal Aid Network Honors 2019 Excellence Award Recipients

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. recognized the recipients of the 2019 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards during the annual Awards Celebration on March 26, 2019. 
The featured speaker at the event was James J. Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation.

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

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards are presented each year to individuals, groups, and/or organizations that have established excellence and diligence improving the availability and quality of civil legal services for low income people and victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania. 

The list of award 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.

A video tribute was shown highlighting the accomplishments of each of the 2019 recipients of the award. Those video tributes may be viewed below:
 

 

 

The 2019 Excellence Award recipients are:

  • Rachel Garland, Esq., Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
  • Natalia Gomez and Benita Mejia, Community Justice Project
  • Betty Green, Philadelphia Legal Assistance
  • George Gvozdich, Esq., and E. Marie Queen,  Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program
  • G. Clayton Nestler, Esq., Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services
  • Nancy R. Paul and Nancy O. Walsh, Montgomery Bar Association
  • Stella Smetanka, Esq., Pro Bono counsel at Neighborhood Legal Services
  • Michelle Terry, Esq., Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania

In addition, PLAN presented the Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award to the group who championed the Clean Slate Legislative Initiative. The following individuals were recognized as part of this single group award: 

  • Gene Barr
  • Representative Sheryl M. Delozier
  • Sharon M. Dietrich
  • Jamie Gullen
  • Holly Harris
  • Representative Jordan A. Harris
  • Mark Holden
  • Michael Hollander
  • Malcolm Jenkins
  • Ronald Lewis
  • Chris Long
  • Seth P. Lyons
  • Beth Anne Mumford
  • Greg Rowe
  • Torrey Smith
  • Rebecca Vallas
  • Senator Scott Wagner
  • Senator Anthony H. Williams

The Clean Slate Legislation provides for automatic sealing of arrests ending without convictions immediately, summary offense convictions after 10 years, and some misdemeanor convictions after 10 years. It also expands Pennsylvania’s sealing law to include some first-degree misdemeanors.

It is an extremely important bill for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians with old and minor criminal convictions or who were arrested but not convicted.  Sealing a criminal case is a life-changing remedy for those who qualify, opening doors to employment, housing and education. 

We invite you to follow the link below to learn more about the 2019 Excellence Award winners.

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network congratulates each of the award recipients and is proud to celebrate their examples of excellence in the pursuit of Access to Justice for all citizens.


About the 2019 Excellence Award Recipients

About the 2019 Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award Recipient

Photos from the Awards Presentation

2019 Excellence Award Program Book

 

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