RWUPro Bono Collaborative
Joining Rhode Island law firms, law students, and community organizations to provide pro bono legal assistance within the community.

June 2010
In This Issue
News and Updates
Get Involved
Current Projects
Donate to the PBC
Participating Law Firms

Want to see your law firm on this list?Join the PBC!
Quick Links
Dear Friend of the PBC:  
PBC Cocktail Party May 6, 2010
      On May 6, 2010, at the State Lounge in downtown Providence, top lawyers, business executives and community advocates gathered to promote, strengthen and celebrate the Pro Bono Collaborative (PBC). Thanks to our generous sponsors the organization's first fundraiser raised over $25,000. 
       In addition to highlighting our May 6th Cocktail Party fundraiser, this edition of the PBC's E-newsletter includes news, project updates and new pro bono opportunities. Enjoy your summer!
Eliza Vorenberg, J.D.
Director, Pro Bono Collaborative

Suzanne Harrington-Steppen, J.D.
Project Coordinator, Pro Bono Collaborative


Joe Whelan 10-08 event
Join Our Mailing List

News and Updates

2010 PBC Cocktail Party:
The PBC's first fundraiser was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who attended and sponsored the event and we hope to see even more of you in 2011! If you missed the event here are some photos:
Attorneys from Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP including host Stephen Prignano(far right)
EAPD attnys event
Host Elizabeth Oliveira, Jodi Bourque and Stump Olsen
Nixon and Youth Pride
Providence Chief of Police Dean Esserman, Aileen L. Sprague and Robert J. McConnell from Motley Rice LLP 
esserman, mconnell
Attorneys from Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP including
host Tracy C. Baran (fourth from right)
Host Joseph Whelan from Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP addressing the crowd
Joseph Whelan Esq.
Hosts Elizabeth Oliveira, Matthew Plain and Tracy Baran announcing the raffle and silent auction winners
liz, matt and tracy
RWU Senior Vice President Lynn Fawthrop, RI Chief Justice Paul Suttell and FILS Director Laurie Barron
chief justice and laurie barron
Attorneys from Hinckley Allen and Snyder LLP
Feinstein Institute Staff and Dean of RWU SOL David Logan
Dean and Feinstein Staff
Judge Daniel A. Procaccini, Jeffrey Biolchini, host John Roney Richard Ratcliffe
roney, ratcliffe
Host Joseph Whelan and RWU President Dr. Roy Nirschel

event raffle
The Raffle and silent auction

Judge Healy, Matt & Liz
Host Elizabeth Oliveira, Workers' Compensation Court Chief Judge
George Healy and Host Matthew Plain

Nixon Peabody LLP Wins In-House Pro Bono Award and Makes Generous Donation to the PBC 
In June, Nixon Peabody's Providence office received an award from its national office for providing more pro bono hours per attorney than any other Nixon Peabody office in the country.  The local office voted to donate their award money to the PBC. On June 8 Eliza Vorenberg accepted a generous donation from law firm partner Linn Freedman, who is also a member of the RWU Law Board of Directors.  
In 2009 Nixon Peabody's Providence attorneys averaged 64 hours per lawyer, together donating 970 hours to numerous pro bono matters including the Pro Bono Collaborative Youth Pride and Expungement Projects, a suit against a chief psychologist in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib for misuse of detainee information, and preventing the eviction of homeless families from an emergency shelter, among others. Nixon Peabody LLP's pro bono policies are terrific and show a true commitment to the legal community's ethical responsibility to provide pro bono legal service. Among other things, the firm has a 60 hour yearly aspirational goal for each of its attorneys, all attorney pro bono hours are counted as billable, and leadership in pro bono hours has been a basis for yearly bonus calculations.

Nixon Peabody LLP PBC Attorneys: Linn Freedman, Timothy Baldwin, Jodi Bourque and Armando Batastini
National PB logo w/ dates
Sang Hwa Lee and Ashley Ham Pong Receive 2010 PBC Awards
At the Feinstein Institute's year-end Thank You Reception on April 29, PBC Director Eliza Vorenberg presented the annual awards for "professionalism, collaborative spirit, and exemplary commitment to serving the community and promoting justice for the underrepresented through the PBC" to 3L Sang Hwa Lee for his work with Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. on the Tax Advocacy Project and to 3L Ashley Ham Pong for her work with Nixon Peabody LLP on the Youth Pride Project.

Sang Hwa Lee,'10, Eliza Vorenberg and Ashley Ham Pong '10 at graduation.

Foreclosure Scam Prevention Project: 
On April 7 the PBC's Foreclosure Prevention Scam Project, which includes Bob McConnell, Esq. of Motley Rice LLC and RWUSOL 2Ls Jeff Basting and Shad Miller attended the launching of the Loan Modification Scam Alert Campaign at the State House.  This new project partners Motley Rice LLC with Housing Network RI to provide legal assistance to homeowner victims of these scams.
Shad Miller, Ray Neirinckx, RI Housing Resource Commission, Bob McConnell, Esq. Jeff Basting (RWU Law '12) & Helen Iasimone, Housing Network RI, Homeownership Connection Director
U Visa Project Up and Running!
On February 11, 2010, the PBC provided a U-Visa Training and launched the PBC's U Visa Project with immigration attorney Joan Mathieu and Catholic Social Services of Fall River. The project has already received two U Visa referrals. The pro bono legal assistance provided through the project will assist immigrants who have been victims of crime.
U Visa Training (from left to right): Suzy Harrington-Steppen, PBC Project Coordinator, Alison Foley, Esq. Catholic Social Services, Sal Lincoln, RWU SOL '12, Joan Mathieu, Esq., Carl Krueger, Esq. IIRI
U Visa
Get Involved: Projects Needing Law Firms
1. Guardian Advocate Project with Looking Upwards 
Partnering with Looking Upwards, a nonprofit agency that provides an array of services to children and adults with developmental disabilities, to provide legal counsel to nine developmentally disabled adults regarding financial and medical decision-making options. In some cases, guardianship petitions may be filed.
Time Commitment: Moderate (9 discrete cases; potential for additional work if interested) 
Number of Attorneys Needed: 2
2. Advice & Counsel for Tenants in Foreclosed Properties Project
Partnering with the RI Bank-Owned Tenants and Homeowners Association to provide advice and counsel to tenants of properties that have recently been foreclosed.  Twice a month, on Thursday late afternoons, attorneys and law students would attend Association meetings to answer members' legal questions and provide advice and counsel.  Legal problems could range from inability to recoup a security deposit or rent paid after a foreclosure sale to utility shut-offs during foreclosure sale.  Attorneys' role would be to inform the tenant of their legal entitlements and provide advice on how to self-advocate.  Attorneys could also negotiate to permit the tenant to stay in the home or get adequate time and money to move. 

Time Commitment: Moderate 

Number of Attorneys Needed: 2


3. Homeless Disability Project with SOAR (great for aspiring litigators!)

The project will partner SOAR ("SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery") and the RI Disability Law Center with a law firm and RWU law students in handling pro bono Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) Administrative Law Judge hearings. This PBC project will involve helping homeless individuals with mental illness obtain SSI benefits they desperately need, and are entitled to, but have not been able to obtain.   The staff at SOAR currently assists individuals in their initial applications and prepares all the necessary medical documentation.  However, in cases where the benefits are denied, a hearing may be requested.  PBC project attorneys would assist at this stage of the process by filing a Request for Hearing, and then preparing for and providing representation at the hearing.  It usually takes about seven months from when a Request for Hearing is made until the hearing.

Time Commitment: Moderate 
Number of Attorneys Needed: 2 

If your law firm is interested in any of these projects or if you would like additional information, please call Suzy Harrington-Steppen, PBC Project Coordinator, at 401.254.4559 or
PBC's Current Pro Bono Projects:

Special Education Advocacy Projects:


-Meeting Street School, Casey Family Services and Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP


-RI Disability Law Center and Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP


Housing Rights Clinic Projects:


-Children's Friend & Service RI and Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP


-Women's Center RI and Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP


Expungement Projects:


-Family Life Center, RI Coalition for the Homeless, Operation Stand Down and Nixon Peabody LLP


-McAuley House and Ratcliffe Harten Burke & Galamaga LLP


Nonprofit Incorporation Projects:


-Grand Divas: Casey Family Services' kinship care group and Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP;


-Rhode Island Liberian Foundation for Education and Cultural Initiatives (RILFECI) and Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP; and


-Dream Center and Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC


Monthly Legal Column in Street Sights Newspaper Project:

(serving homeless community and advocates) Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.


Guardianship Project

: Bradley Hospital's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman LLP
U Visa Project with Joan Matheau, Esq. and Catholic Social Services


Donate to the PBC
The PBC needs your help.  If you would like to make a financial contribution you can donate online or via mail:

(please note your contribution is for the "PBC")

Please send contributions to: 
The PBC, RWU School of Law, 10 Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI 02809

The Pro Bono Collaborative is a grant-funded project at the Roger Williams University School of Law, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit institution. All contributions to the PBC are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
2010 Pro Bono Collaborative Event Sponsors: 
PBC Patron - $2,500
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP
Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP
IKON Office Solutions, Inc.
Joseph and Cathleen Whelan
Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC
PBC Supporter - $1,250
Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
Bank RI
Capital City Finance Corporation / D'Ellena Law Office / Greg Dantas, Remax Professional
Nixon Peabody LLP
Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP
Lexis Nexis
David A. Logan
Stephen and Cheryl Prignano
Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman LLP
PBC Ally - $500
Allied Court Reporters, Inc.
Tracy C. Baran, Esq., Elizabeth B. Oliveira, Esq. and Matthew R. Plain, Esq.
Laurie Barron and Michael Yelnosky
Boston Litigation Solutions
Casey Family Services
Vivian S. Dafoulas & Associates
Gonzalez Law Offices, Inc.
Ratcliffe Harten Burke & Galamaga LLP
Reporting Associates, Shorthand Reporters
RI Dream Center Project
Roney & Labinger LLP
Stroz Friedberg LLC
WarRoom Document Solutions, Inc.
The Washington Trust Company
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business - CCH, Inc., Aspen Publishers and Kluwer Law International

Pro Bono Collaborative                                                            Joe Whelan 10-08 event
Feinstein Institute for Legal Service
Roger Williams School of Law
Ten Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809-5171
fax: 401-254-4540