September 2010 Volunteer Feature: William Bagliebter and Jamie Dyce, Duane Morris LLP
Duane Morris LLP Partner William Bagliebter and Associate Jamie Dyce embody the spirit of National Pro Bono Week. A pro bono veteran, Mr. Bagliebter received an Epstein Award for his service in 2009. Since then, he has continued to show enormous commitment to aiding low income New Yorkers through the City Bar Justice Center's Elderlaw and Cancer Advocacy projects, engaging others from his firm in the process.
Both the Elderlaw and Cancer Advocacy projects are innovative in their ability to leverage the resources of the legal community, working with 150 pro bono attorneys to serve over 370 low income clients. The Elderlaw Project maintains the dignity and independence of elderly people by providing a variety of legal services for seniors, including the preparation of life planning documents. The Cancer Advocacy Project provides cancer patients, survivors, and their families with legal information and pro bono legal assistance on issues relating to discrimination in the workplace, health law, insurance, advance directives, wills, and access to public benefits.
Mr. Bagliebter and Ms. Dyce have gone the extra mile. They have traveled to visit seniors in their homes and in nursing facilities, working to complete simple wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and living wills. Their clients have ranged from the legally blind to individuals with stage-four lung cancer and veterans. They have often worked under tight deadlines, and the projects' staff members have counted on the Duane Morris team to produce quality work with limited time, never neglecting to empathize with their clients in their hour of need.
In August 2010, when Ms. X's family reached out to the Cancer Advocacy Project, Mr. Bagliebter and Ms. Dyce were the first to offer their services. Ms. X was an 82 year old suffering from lung cancer. Ms. X, who was estranged from her closest living relatives, wanted her nephew to serve as her power of attorney and be named in her will. In less than a week, Ms. X moved from the hospital to a hospice and Mr. Bagliebter and Ms. Dyce completed her will, living will, HIPAA documents, and power of attorney.
Ms. X passed away just days after her documents were completed and her nephew wrote the pro bono attorneys to thank them for their service. In an email to Ms. Dyce he said: "I received a call from Calvary Hospice last night at about 1:00 a.m. informing me that my Aunt passed away. I think she was able to go peacefully largely because you and William were able to work with her to complete her legal documents. Thank you so much for this."
The City Bar Justice Center is grateful to Duane Morris LLP Partner William Bagliebter, Associate Jamie Dyce and other project volunteers at the firm for their willingness to give of their time and expertise.