And Justice For All

December 2017 Volunteer of the Month: Laura Kelly

It would be easy to make the assumption that low-income clients with very few assets would have little need for a will.  On the contrary, as Laura Kelly says, “That just makes the assets they do have even more important to them.”

Laura is a Partner at McCarter & English.  She has concentrated her practice in trusts and estates matters since 1994, and has volunteered with VLJ for the past several years both by taking pro bono estate cases for full representation and by speaking at VLJ’s clinics to train volunteer attorneys.

October 2017 Volunteer of the Month: Karen Edler

For a parent, the process of securing appropriate services for a child in school can often be overwhelming, intimidating, and exhausting.  After experiencing this firsthand, Karen Edler has become a powerful advocate for parents who desperately need help understanding and navigating their children’s education rights.

Karen is of counsel at Price Meese Shulman & D’Arminio, P.C.  She has nearly twenty years of education law experience, and has been a volunteer with VLJ’s Children’s Representation Program (CRP), from taking pro bono cases to serving as a mentor for attorneys new to the area of law, since just after its establishment

August 2017 Volunteer of the Month: Eduardo Santiago-Acevedo

Nearly 40,000 people face eviction each year in Essex County.  The number seems overwhelming, but as Eduardo Santiago-Acevedo explains, even if attorneys can assist only a small percentage of families, “for those individuals, it means everything in the world.”

Second Annual Summer Soiree Success

Volunteer Lawyer for Justice’s second annual Summer Soiree was a huge success, raising awareness and funding for VLJ’s Children’s Representation Program (CRP).  Hosted by VLJ’s Generation Now Young Professionals Committee, the event was attended by almost 100 professionals at the Essex Fells Country Club on June 8, 2017 and featured an impassioned speech by exemplary volunteer Michael Malia.

Spotlight on Service: Matt Leff

Spotlight on Service: Matt Leff

The primary wish of so many low-income clients struggling with debt is simply to have a fresh start.  That is exactly what Matt Leff has been providing for the past seven years through his volunteer work with VLJ.

Matt, a patent attorney at Merck & Co., leads the Bankruptcy in a Box Program, which offers low-income clients a new financial future after they have become overwhelmed by debt. Merck attorneys and paralegals work together to prepare and file Chapter 7 petitions on behalf of their clients.

Introducing the Veterans Legal Wellness Clinic and Tenancy Clinic

VLJ is excited to announce two new legal programs this year.  The Veterans Legal Wellness Clinic is the first legal services clinic to be held regularly at the East Orange VA Hospital; VLJ is proud to partner with the legal departments of BASF and Panasonic, as well as the law firms, Day Pitney LLP, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra PC, and McGuire Woods LLP on this ground-breaking new program. The Tenancy Clinic is our second new program and it is co-sponsored by Prudential and Lowenstein Sandler. 

A Success! VLJ's 15th Anniversary Celebration

On November 14, 2016, VLJ hosted our 15th Anniversary Celebration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.  The night was enormously successful; nearly 300 guests attended the event and helped raise over $300,000 for VLJ.  In addition, BASF Corporation was presented with the 2016 Pro Bono Award (accepted by Matthew Lepore, Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer).  

Spotlight on Service: Delia Murphy

Spotlight on Service: Delia Murphy

When Delia Murphy guides would-be litigants at VLJ’s Divorce Clinic every month, it’s clear that many of her nonlegal, as well as legal, experiences trained her for the role.

Delia, who has been lending her expertise to VLJ since its inception 15 years ago, runs a solo matrimonial law practice in Bloomfield.  Previously, she taught marketing part time at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City and remains at ease in a teaching environment.