Roger J. Hawke, Esq.
“I retired in January, 2009 as a partner at Sidley Austin. Since then I have worked 2-3 days a week at the Brooklyn Office for the Aging of The Legal Aid Society litigating cases in Brooklyn Supreme Court. My clients, the elderly and indigent, have all been abused and taken advantage of in some fashion. Without free legal representation they would have had no recourse. The work I have done is far afield from the kind of litigation I handled at Sidley Austin. If I had been required to continue with CLE and other requirements I probably would have still done pro bono work – but the AEP certainly eased the way for me and, I am sure, for other retired attorneys who do or would like to do pro bono work. My experience at Legal Aid has been satisfying, rewarding and challenging.”
Richard Landman, Esq.
“I now put in over 800 hours of pro bono time in the NY County Housing Court in various programs since my retirement. I am grateful for the experience to be able to keep up my skills, and I also get a great sense of satisfaction helping others; but this program is a drop in the bucket for what is needed if we are truly to give all people an equal access to justice. Our state needs to have more paid attorneys helping out those of limited income in civil matters such as eviction, deportation and custody hearings, and we need to streamline the process and simplify it even more than the "Do It Yourself" computer system, (that still is a hurdle for so many litigants). Since I have been volunteering every Monday for around 8 years, I feel like I work for the Courts, but just don't get paid. Proudly I am finally using my legal skills to be like the lawyer I dreamt about becoming.”
Kate McDonough, Esq.
“During my legal career, I primarily focused on the municipal finance market. For me, the ability to “do good” by helping to fund essential public infrastructure was very rewarding. Now my experience with the AEP has helped me continue to “do good” in retirement. Thanks to the information provided in the biennial registration form, I have spent the last 3 years volunteering with the Incarcerated Mothers Law Project. We work with imprisoned women to advise them of their rights and responsibilities with respect to their children and advocate on their behalf. I had no prior experience in Family Law, but the staff at Volunteers of Legal Service, and particularly, Ellen Rosenberg, has provided excellent training and support. And the experience of working with women who have faced many challenges in their lives, but continue to work hard to be a positive presence in their children’s’ lives has made me so proud to be part of this initiative.”
John McQueen, Esq.
“I have been in the Attorney Emeritus Program since I retired in 2012. I am fortunate to have an excellent pro bono legal service provider, Volunteer Legal Services Project of Rochester (VLSP), and my old firm, Nixon Peabody LLP, both of which support pro bono work. I obtain the majority of pro bono cases through VLSP, which does an excellent job of intake and initial workup of the cases. Since January, 2012, I have averaged about 90 hours per year of pro bono time and have had a variety of interesting cases, including tax, real estate, record expungement, professional accreditation and insurance disability. I very much enjoy my time doing pro bono, and it is always the first thing I tell people when they ask me what I do in retirement. I am also a member of an advisory group which supports the work of VLSP through outreach to law firm managing partners and corporate counsel.”
Jeremiah Quinlan, Esq.
“I have participated in the AEP program for approximately the last three years. In the decades I practiced law in New York State I was very lucky and was able to build a practice and support a family in Westchester County. When I retired I was looking for an outlet to use my skills to level the legal playing field for the poor and marginalized people of my State. I graduated from Fordham Law School and it was fortunate that the Feerick Center for Social Justice helped coordinate the AEP program. I have volunteered for the CLARO program in the Bronx Civil and Supreme Court and also with the Children's Law Center in the Bronx Family Court. The training and the opportunity to transfer my legal skills to these new areas of law has been stimulating and rewarding.”
Michael Schnittman, Esq.
“I retired from the private practice of law in July 2011. Since that time, as a member of the Attorney Emeritus Program, I have represented numerous clients through the Volunteer Legal Services Program of Monroe County. These cases mostly involve people who are about to lose their homes through mortgage or tax foreclosures. Some of these clients have owned their homes for many years but got behind in their payments because of job loss, illness or other family situations beyond their control.
Since I am very familiar with the foreclosure process and the collection of debt (having focused my practice in those areas before retirement) I have been able to advise and represent these clients fairly successfully. The satisfaction that I receive from these clients far exceeds the payment of fees that I received from private clients. One of my clients whose home I helped her keep even wrote a poem to me. A part of it follows:
“All these things you granted to a ‘have-not’ though you weren’t paid to do your enormous, very generous act PRO BONO… without a cent, in fact And I appreciate your efforts, work Your knowledge of the courtroom, clerk The Judge, the law, the opposition You advanced my noble position. Justice served, fortunate for me Without HELP, what would our world be?”
"As Chair of the VLSP Advisory Council I work to increase pro bono participation in our community to serve the needs of the underrepresented."
Oscar S. Straus III, Esq.
“My entire legal career has been directed to legal services for the elderly first through Brooklyn Law School's Senior Citizen Law Office as a law student, law graduate and as an admitted attorney and then as the Director of the Volunteers of Legal Service Elderly Project. After I retired, I realized that there were many people still needing my services so I volunteer with the NYLAG Legal Health Unit and the City Bar Justice Center. While working with hospital and hospice clients in immediate need of Life Time Planning documents and other seniors who cannot afford the costs of a private attorney who will visit them in their homes, is sometimes emotionally hard, the personal reward I receive from them in the form of a heart-felt 'thank you' sooths every personal difficulty that I might have. Continuing my practice as an Attorney Emeritus allows me to continue to serve a needy population.”