Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Announces Recipients of 2019 Excellence Awards
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award, as well as the awarding of the Outstanding Leadership in Support of Legal Services 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 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 Paul and Nancy Walsh, Montgomery Bar Association
- Stella Smetanka, Esq., Pro Bono counsel at Neighborhood Legal Services
- Michelle Terry, Esq., Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
The eleven 2019 Excellence Award winners will be honored with an awards presentation and short video tribute at the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award Banquet on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Hilton Harrisburg. James J. Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation will be the featured speaker at the awards banquet.
In addition, PLAN will present the Outstanding Leadership in Legal Services Award to the group who championed the Clean Slate Legislative Initiative. The following individuals will be recognized as part of this single group award:
- Gene Barr
- Representative Sheryl M. Delozier
- Sharon Dietrich
- Jamie Gullen
- Holly Harris
- Representative Jordan Harris
- Mark Holden
- Michael Hollander
- Malcolm Jenkins
- Ronald Lewis
- Chris Long
- Seth Lyons
- Beth Anne Mumford
- Greg Rowe
- Torrey Smith
- Rebecca Vallas
- Senator Scott Wagner
- Senator Anthony 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.
Online purchase of individual tickets or full table reservations is available at http://bit.ly/2019-PLAN-Excellence.
Information on sponsorship and advertising opportunities is available at https://palegalaid.net/support-us/excellence-sponsorship.
For additional details, contact Christine Kirby at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Excellence Awards Presented on June 6
After severe weather forced the postponement of the 2018 Excellence Awards in March, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. finally honored the recipients of the 2018 PLAN Excellence Award during the rescheduled Award Banquet on June 6, 2018.
Also honored were the recipients of this year's Outstanding Leadership in Support of Legal Services Award, The Honorable Dick Thornburgh, The Honorable Stewart J. Greenleaf, and The Honorable Ronald S. Marsico.
The Outstanding Leadership in Support of Legal Services Award is presented to recognize the efforts of individuals to support and promote the mission of legal aid which 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.
Tribute videos were presented during the award ceremony outlining the efforts and ongoing support of this mission by the Outstanding Leadership Award recipients. The tribute videos can be viewed below:
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.
Recipients of the 2018 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Award include:
- Rachel Blake, Esq.
Regional Housing Legal Services
- Patrick M. Cicero, Esq.
Pennsylvania Utility Law Project
- Suzanne Z. Moschini
North Penn Legal Services
- Antoinette C. Oliver, Esq.
Chair, Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership
Partner, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP
- Mary Coyne Pugh, Esq.
Montgomery Child Advocacy Project
- Randi Riefner
Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
- Beth Shapiro, Esq.
Community Legal Services
- The Honorable John Thomas
United States Bankruptcy Judge and
The Middle District Bankruptcy Bar Association Pro Bono Program
United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
The award ceremony also featured a video tribute of each Excellence Award recipient highlighting their accomplishments. Those videos can be viewed in the playlist below. Individual videos may be selected from the menu accessed in the upper left of the player:
Special Recognition was made during the awards presentation to Susan J. Lucas, Compliance Consultant to the PLAN Network. The recognition was for her work in leading the transition to a new statewide case management system over the last two years. This included the customization and implementation of the system, as well as data migration from the old system and staff training in the use of the new system.