New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/14/04
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Communications and Marketing Manager
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NJSBA Acknowledges Pro Bono Work Of Thomas J. Welchman, Esq. With Annual Award

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ— Thomas J. Welchman, a Somerset resident and attorney with a solo practice in Somerville, received the Pro Bono Award of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) at the organization’s recent annual meeting in Atlantic City. The NJSBA annual Pro Bono Award is presented to an association member who has performed exemplary pro bono services during the preceding year.

The list of organizations where he volunteers, the testimony of his peers and the commitment shown by his countless hours devoted to legal services work provide only a glimpse into the unwavering efforts of Thomas Welchman on behalf of Legal Services.

“Tom is a shining example of the pro bono spirit,” wrote Diane K. Smith, executive director for Legal Services of North West Jersey (LSNWJ) in her letter to the Somerset County Bar Association recommending Welchman for the award. “His efforts have made an astonishing difference in the justice system in our service area and have gone a long way in making the goal of equal justice a reality in our community.”

A former president of the board of directors for Somerset-Sussex Legal Services for more than fifteen years, Welchman now serves as treasurer for LSNWJ, an organization created in 2002 resulting from the merger of Somerset-Sussex Legal Services and three other legal services providers. Welchman served on the Steering committee that guided the merger.

Welchman is a vice president of the Resource Center for Women and their Families in Somerset County, and for over 10 years, has been a volunteer attorney with the resource center’s Pro Bono Legal Clinic, offering 30-minute consultations for victims of domestic violence. In addition, as clinic coordinator, he works to recruit additional volunteer attorneys, and reaches out to LSNWJ, Legal Services of New Jersey and the ACLU to develop better coordination of pro bono legal services within the county.

In a letter to the Somerset County Bar Association on Welchman’s nomination, resource center Executive Director Cathy L. Cummings also noted that he makes himself available on short notice to represent domestic violence victims.

Welchman’s awareness of the particular concerns and difficulties faced by domestic violence victims “benefits the broader community as these victims are better able to move towards safety and less in need of emergency law enforcement and medical services,” she wrote.

Gwendoline M. Walding, president of the board of trustees for the Resource Center for Women and Their Families wrote in her letter recommending Welchman for the NJSBA Pro Bono Award, “His many years of service have benefited so many of our clients and his great perspective has helped move the agency along so that it now stands as a leading agency in the county for domestic violence.”

Welchman is also a former member of the board of directors and attorney for the Franklin Township Food Bank, and a cooperating attorney for the Somerset ACLU Legal Clinic.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.

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