Specific Case Highlights:
In 2009, Lucien A. Morin, II vowed to clear Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.’s bankruptcy backlog. At the time, there were twenty-two cases awaiting placement. Mr. Morin was moved by the plight of formerly middle class people, single mothers, and seniors struggling more than ever to make ends meet in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Since February 2009, Mr. Morin has sought out 21 pro bono bankruptcy case referrals.
While quietly and diligently working to eradicate the bankruptcy case backlog, Mr. Morin continued to volunteer for VLSP’s Debt Collection Advice Clinic, where he provided instruction and brief advice and counsel for 283 individual clients over the past three years.
Many clients attending VLSP’s Debt Collection Advice Clinic are single mothers or grandmothers working not just one but often two or three minimum wage jobs. Often, these clients are trying to raise several children on an annual income of about $17,000 to $20,000. With little income, there is no safety net to protect against job loss, unexpected bills or escalating household expenses. Debt can become an overwhelming problem, especially during tough economic times.
A prominent member of the Rochester legal community, Mr. Morin never misses an opportunity to recruit new volunteers. He uses every available platform - Monroe County Bar Association Bankruptcy Committee meetings, continuing legal education programs, his service as a Chapter 7 Trustee and more – to raise awareness of the need for increased pro bono service.
Mr. Morin is also a member of a committee of Rochester bankruptcy practitioners and bankruptcy Trustees designing a VLSP clinic that will assist low income clients filing pro se petitions and providing representation at 341 hearings. This small group of dedicated pro bono volunteers is not only donating considerable expertise but also their experienced paralegals. The beta model will be up and running this month.
Without the extraordinary representation Mr. Morin has provided, many hardworking, low-income members of the Rochester community would be denied the opportunity to seek a fresh financial start. Because he consistently demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the promise of equal justice for all, Mr. Morin was honored with a 2010 VLSP William E. McKnight Award for Pro Bono Service.
About Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.: Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc. (VLSP) improves the quality of life of low income residents of Monroe County by ensuring the existence of a readily available panel of skilled volunteer attorneys to resolve serious civil legal problems. VLSP has over 1,500 pro bono volunteers on its panel and with a staff of 9.4 FTE provided services to approximately 2,100 clients last year.
VLSP provides assistance with a wide variety of civil legal problems including divorces, Family Court practice, landlord-tenant conversions, unemployment insurance, bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, grandparent/nonparent custody, immigration, consumer and wills, among others. Some pro bono attorneys accept cases in which they provide full representation, others participate in VLSP clinics including Family Court Assistance, Debt Collection Advice, Pro-se Divorce, Wills Clinic and the Lawyer of the Morning Program (a collaboration between VLSP and The Legal Aid Society of Rochester to assist low-income tenants facing eviction proceedings).
Inquiries: Please contact Pro Bono Coordinator Linda Kostin at 585-295-5703 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or requests for additional information.