Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards

PLAN, Inc. Announces its 2022 Excellence Awardees

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. Excellence Awards:

  • Community Justice Project Eviction Response Team
  • Consumer Subcommittee of the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee
  • Doreen Mitchell
  • John Gandrud, Esq.
  • Julia Simon-Mishel, Esq.
  • Liz Chacko, Esq.
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Randy & Debbie Blough

In addition to these recipients, Mark Schwartz, Esq. and Robert Racunas, Esq. will be honored with the Samuel W. Milkes Outstanding Leadership Award. This award of distinction is not given every year, but reserved for those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in support of civil legal aid. It was renamed last year in honor of Sam's decades of outstanding leadership, and it is presented to these individuals for their dedication and efforts to making civil legal aid available for thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians throughout their remarkable careers.

We invite you to join us in celebrating this year’s recipients at our Excellence Awards Dinner, scheduled Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at the Hilton Harrisburg. The evening will begin with a social reception from 5:00 PM-6:00 PM, followed by a banquet dinner and formal ceremony, during which each recipient will be presented with an award and a video highlighting their accomplishments. We are honored to have Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), co-chair of the Congressional Access to Legal Aid Caucus, as our Keynote Speaker.

More information about reservations and our event is forthcoming. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the sponsorship and advertising packages as a way of supporting civil legal aid and the extraordinary achievements of our Excellence Award recipients. Our social reception is also available for sponsorship. Interested parties should contact us for more details.

For inquiries about the Excellence Awards, please contact Brianna Bosak at or call (717) 710-3840.

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Honors 2021 Excellence Award Recipients

PLAN Excellence AwardPennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. recognized the recipients of the 2021 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards during a virtual Awards Celebration that was held on March 23, 2021.

The 2021 Award recipients were originally scheduled to receive the award in 2020 but the 2020 Excellence Award Celebration could not take place due the to COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than electing to select a new slate of award winners for 2021, PLAN decided to use the 2021 celebration to honor those selected to receive the award in 2020 and to celebrate the legal aid community’s collective response to COVID-19. 

The featured speaker at the event was Supreme Court Justice David Wecht.

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 PLAN 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.

Nominations are solicited from across Pennsylvania for the awards which are made based 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 2021 Excellence Award recipients honored at the event include:

A video tribute was shown during the event highlighting the accomplishments of each of the 2021 recipients of the award. Those video tributes may be viewed below:


In addition, PLAN presented the Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award to Samuel W. Milkes, Esq., Former Executive Director, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. During his 19 years as Executive Director, Samuel Milkes worked tirelessly to expand access to civil legal services for low-income households and dedicated himself to advancing the mission of a compassionate and coordinated, client-centered legal aid system in Pennsylvania. 


In recognition of his long service and his superlative efforts as Executive Director, the Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award was rechristened the Samuel W. Milkes Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award at the conclusion of the ceremony and will be known as that award in the future. 

Download Program Booklet
About the 2021 Excellence Award Recipients


YouTube logo   Award Tribute Videos

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