Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Presents 2016 Excellence Awards

2016 Excellence Awards​The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) honored the recipients of the 2016 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards on March 15, 2016 at the annual awards dinner held at the Hilton Harrisburg.

The Keynote Speaker at the event was The Honorable J. Richard Gray, Mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who began his career as a legal aid attorney and later served as the director of the legal aid program serving Central Pennsylvania.

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 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 2016 recipients of the award. Those video tributes may be viewed below:


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

You are invited to follow the link below to learn more about the 2016 Excellence Award winners.

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. and all of the regional and specialty legal aid programs in the network congratulate the recipients of the Award for their past and ongoing efforts to help individuals and families across Pennsylvania who have no where else to turn when faced with a legal crisis.

About the 2016 Excellence Award Winners

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about the latest news and updates!

Sign Up