Three New York City attorneys will be honored by the New York State Bar Association at an October 25 event to mark National Pro Bono Week.

"National Pro Bono Week is a chance to highlight the good lawyers do to help the public. We are proud to recognize three attorneys who represent the outstanding pro bono efforts that New York attorneys make every day, " said State Bar President Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City). "I thank all the lawyers who give so generously of their time and expertise to truly make a difference for the community."

The Pro Bono Award Ceremony and Volunteer Opportunity Expo will be held Thursday, October 25, from 6-8 p.m. at the New York County Civil Court, 111 Centre Street, Manhattan.

Hon. Fern Fisher, deputy chief administrative judge for New York City Civil Courts and director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program, will attend the event, as well as representatives of the New York County Lawyers' Association and the New York City Mayor's office. State Bar Treasurer Claire P. Gutekunst of New York City will appear on behalf of President James.

The State Bar honorees are:

Mark Weliky, executive director and pro bono coordinator of the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project (QVLP). He was instrumental in establishing the Queens Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO) and the Queens Foreclosure Conference Project.  Since 2008, the QVLP has assisted more than 300 homeowners facing foreclosure. Through CLARO, the program has helped more than 900 pro se litigants in 2011 with their consumer debt and collection cases.

Adam Baker, an associate at Alston & Bird, chairs the firm's pro bono recognition subcommittee. He has worked with the City Bar Justice Center helping families with housing issues and participates in the Appellate Defender program taking indigent criminal appeals to the Appellate Division, First Department.

Gail Goldfarb, an associate at Cozen & O'Connor, has represented immigrant minors through Kids in Need of Defense. She also volunteers with the Community Service Society, where she successfully challenged the denial of a security guard license to an honorably discharged Army veteran who pled guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge based on erroneous legal advice.

The American Bar Association (ABA) established National Pro Bono Week in 2009 to support local efforts to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services, recognize the significant efforts of pro bono attorneys and showcase the tremendous difference that pro bono lawyers make to our system of justice, our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer