Pro Bono Partnership Honors Attorney Volunteers

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - 01:00

The Pro Bono Partnership has named Richard C. Altman of Savino Del Bene U.S.A., Diane C. Iglesias of SBC East and Frederick T. Forster and Kyle A. Odin of Shipman & Goodwin LLP as 2004 Volunteers of the Year. The law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and the legal department of Merck & Co., Inc. have also been recognized for pro bono legal services to the nonprofit community.

Each year, the Pro Bono Partnership chooses Volunteers of the Year to recognize individuals, corporations and law firms that make outstanding commitments to providing free legal assistance, through the Partnership, to community-based nonprofit organizations in Westchester County, NY; Fairfield County, CT, and NJ.

The Partnership, with offices in White Plains, NY; Newark, NJ and Stamford, CT, was founded in 1997 to provide free legal assistance to nonprofits whose programs benefit low-income communities or serve the public interest.

More than 800 volunteer attorneys have enlisted to provide pro bono services through the Partnership. Partnership volunteers and staff attorneys have provided assistance to nearly 700 nonprofits in the tri-state area and addressed more than 1,800 legal issues since the Partnership was founded.

"The Partnership has chosen to honor Merck & Co.'s legal department because of its whole-hearted commitment to providing pro bono legal services through our program," says Richard Hobish, the Partnership's Executive Director. "Within 12 months of first getting involved with the Partnership's programs, 12 Merck attorneys from the Whitehouse Station and Rahway, NJ, offices assisted with 17 different matters for nonprofits in the region." Merck volunteers addressed contract and bylaw reviews, intellectual property issues, assistance with leases, collaboration and licensing agreements, review of personnel policies, privacy practices, Internet issues, and HIPAA compliance matters. According to Hobish, "Merck attorneys have made a real difference to clients in New Jersey and New York and have significantly contributed to the Partnership's capacity to provide expert, focused legal assistance in a timely and professional manner. The corporation's designation as our 2004 Corporate Volunteer of the Year is well deserved."

The Partnership has also named Drinker Biddle & Reath, based in Philadelphia, as 2004 Law Firm Volunteer of the Year because of its exemplary commitment.

Richard Altman, of Ossining, NY, is Vice President & General Counsel of Savino Del Bene U.S.A., Inc., a global company with headquarters in Florence, Italy. Altman has been involved with the Partnership for several years. He has worked on employment, corporate and contract-related matters.

Diane Iglesias of Guildford, CT, is Counsel for The Southern New England Telecommunications Company d/b/a SBC East. Iglesias is being honored for her work with many of the Partnership's Connecticut clients on a variety of corporate, contract, tax exemption and governance matters.

Frederick Forster of Ridgefield, CT, and Kyle Odin of Stratford, CT, are associates at Shipman & Goodwin LLP, in Stamford, CT, which received the Partnership's 2004 Law Firm Volunteer of the Year Award. Forster and Odin have provided assistance to clients in both Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

To learn more about the Pro Bono Partnership, call the White Plains office at (914) 328-0674 or (203) 351-4123, or the New Jersey office at (973) 273-0600, or visit the website at www.probonopartnership.org.