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Pro Bono Partnership

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Pro Bono Partnership Honors Pratt & Whitney, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Dale Fredston, Joseph Galardi, and Steven Weinberger as Volunteers of the Year

White Plains, NY, April 09, 2014 --( Pro Bono Partnership, a nonprofit legal assistance provider serving New York, New Jersey and Connecticut nonprofit organizations, celebrated its 2013 Volunteers of the Year at a reception hosted by Hogan Lovells. Pratt & Whitney, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Dale Fredston, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Sterling Bancorp and Sterling National Bank, Joseph Galardi, and Steven Weinberger were honored for their outstanding pro bono service to the Partnership’s clients.

Pro Bono Partnership recruits more than 900 attorneys annually to provide free legal advice to its nonprofit clients. Executive Director Rick Hobish says, “The Partnership is proud to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of these dedicated volunteers. Their gift of time and expertise has significantly strengthened hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the tri-state area, ultimately improving the quality of life for thousands of individuals and families.”

Pratt & Whitney attorneys have been among our most steadfast volunteers, reaching a record high of 22 volunteers in 2013, representing more than one-third of the legal department and undertaking 17 matters. Examples of projects handled by Pratt & Whitney attorneys include assisting with the orderly dissolution of a struggling organization, assisting with the establishment of a state-wide nonprofit center, reviewing a power purchase agreement and roof lease to enable our client to reduce its utilities bills, and advising a school-based health center regarding revisions to a parent-consent form. According to Joe Santos, General Counsel, “Pro bono work is the opportunity to give back to the community through the legal support of individuals and organizations who support our community but cannot afford to pay for commercial legal services. More importantly, it’s a chance to connect and form relationships with intelligent and sensitive people who make a positive difference for our towns and cities every day.”

Many law firms encourage pro bono work, but the commitment of Lowenstein Sandler’s pro bono program is exceptional. In the past two years, 47 attorneys have volunteered for 37 matters, assisting 25 nonprofit organizations in New Jersey and New York. Volunteers reviewed bylaws, leases, website terms of use and privacy policies, employee handbooks and much more for the Partnership’s clients. New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) received assistance from Lowenstein concerning bequests of 60 acres of land that were subject to a conservation easement. The land had to be preserved in its natural state, but also included structures that had fallen into disrepair. Over the course of 18 months, a partner at Lowenstein helped create a solution that permitted NJAS to lease the land and sell the structures while honoring the terms of the bequests, converting a potential liability into a net gain for all involved, including the public who can continue to enjoy the sanctuary.

Dale Fredston, an attorney primarily in the financial services sector, has been a dedicated volunteer for the Partnership since 2000, having worked on 18 different matters for 14 different nonprofit clients. Ms. Fredston undertook several different projects in 2013, including work for the Wholesome Wave Foundation, Bridgeport, CT, which fosters strong linkages between local agriculture and under-served communities. Wholesome Wave wanted to embark on a unique initiative to work with “food hubs”. Ms. Fredston carefully guided Wholesome Wave on three different matters relating to this project. Ms. Fredston said, “The work I have done for Pro Bono Partnership has enabled me to apply my experience to assist causes I care about. What is most rewarding to me is the opportunity to counsel clients on how best to accomplish their important missions.”

Joe Galardi, an employment law specialist, began volunteering with the Partnership in 2011, and in 2013 he advised 15 clients with 17 matters. He assisted clients with independent contractor agreements, reviewed job descriptions and personnel policies, and determined classification of exempt and non-exempt employees. Additionally, he helped Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI), Newton, NJ, develop technology and equipment and social media networking policies. According to Jamie Bernard, Executive Director for DASI, “This type of volunteer effort is so very important to nonprofits. I honestly do not know how we would otherwise strengthen our infrastructure and protect our agency.”

Steve Weinberger, an experienced real estate attorney, has been an active volunteer with the Partnership for many years. Mr. Weinberger is an enthusiastic volunteer who often proactively approaches the Partnership for new pro bono opportunities. In 2013, he took on five different real estate projects. Mr. Weinberger volunteered to assist Horizons National, Norwalk, CT, a network of high-quality academic enrichment programs that provide long-term deep engagement to low-income public school students. According to Morgan Smith, “Steve is a shining example of volunteerism at its best! Ultimately it is the children we serve who are the real beneficiaries of his commitment to give back. Many thanks for his legal expertise, but perhaps more importantly for his philanthropic heart.”
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Pro Bono Partnership
Tricia Fleming

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