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

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2011

Kate Coscarelli

Director of Media Relations

732-937-7538

NJSBA Honors Pro Bono Attorneys

Lowenstein Sandler, barrington attorney honored for pro bono service

State Bar Association holds Pro Bono Conference


New Brunswick: A lawyer who helped victims of political persecution and Guantanamo Bay detainees, and a drug company that performed legal services for homeless shelters, childcare centers and literacy programs are this year’s winners of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Awards.

 

John Hargrave, a South Jersey attorney, today will receive the individual award at a presentation today at the Fourth Annual Pro Bono Conference. Roseland-based Lowenstein Sandler, PC will also receive an award for excellence by an organization at the same event. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m, to 2:30 p.m. at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

 

Bar Association President Susan A. Feeney praised the winners, calling their pro bono work exemplary.

 

“As lawyers, we have a special tool – a law degree – that enables us to give back to the community. That is our privilege and obligation. Through their volunteer efforts, Lowenstein Sandler PC and John Hargrave have helped improve the lives of countless people,” she said.

 

A CULTURE OF SERVICE

 

The selection of Lowenstein Sandler for recognition award follows the firm’s decision to create the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest to expand upon its community and volunteer legal work.

 

Over the past year, the firm started a partnership with Living Cities, a nonprofit devoted to urban revitalization. Attorneys helped establish a framework that will allow the organization to make $85 million in grants and loans to local nonprofits in cities around the country.

 

On the litigation front, firm attorneys represented people seeking help with immigration, domestic violence and military benefits. The firm also sought broader impact through amicus work and other cases; including helping convince the New Jersey Supreme Court to establish visitation rights for siblings in foster care.

 

During 2010, each of the firm’s attorneys spent an average of 97 hours on pro bono matters for a total of 23,682 hours during the year. They helped 187 clients.

 

Keri Logosso-Misurell, president of New Jersey Children’s Alliance (NJCA), said the firm’s commitment to children is inspiring. Pro bono attorneys from the firm helped the alliance create bylaws and become tax-exempt, making it eligible for grants.

 

“Their pro bono work directly created the corporate structure needed for NJCA to receive and disburse funds which benefit abused children and families throughout New Jersey,” she wrote in a letter nominating the firm for the award.

 

SERVING CLIENTS, STUDENTS

 

Barrington attorney John Hargrave embodies the pro bono ethic.

 

In his 16 years as leader of the Rutgers School of Law – Camden Pro Bono Bankruptcy Project, Hargrave has represented over 100 clients seeking Chapter 7 help. The project is a joint effort with South Jersey Legal Services.

 

“The nature and sincerity of John’s commitment are even more impressive. He devotes his time to guiding clients through the bankruptcy process, while at the same time sharing with law students his expertise in client interviewing and bankruptcy,” wrote Pam Merstock-Wolfe, assistant director of Pro Bono and Public Interest Programs at the law school.

 

In addition to his work with bankruptcy clients, he is also a founder of a financial literacy project that helps people learn about their responsibilities and risks related to credit, as well as personal finance and bills.

 

Hargrave said he enjoys helping people and teaching students. The pro bono cases help keep him grounded, he added.