Edwin P. Rome Achievement Award Recipients
2010—Katherine Barecchia was honored with the 2010 award for her extraordinary efforts and dedication to numerous pro bono projects throughout the years, including the Consumer Law Clinic at the D.C. Superior Court for people with small claims and related issues. Most recently, she represented a man in a hotly-contested custody case. The client, who is not biologically related to the child, had nonetheless raised the child since birth. When the client’s wife (the child’s biological aunt) died, another aunt kidnapped the child. Although the child had never lived with this aunt, and she knew no other home than the client’s, because there was no blood relation, he had trouble getting her returned to his custody. Ms. Barecchia helped him to get custody and to reunite his family.
“Being a lawyer, we have skill sets that other people do not have. It is our obligation to society to help people who do not have what we have. No matter how big or small, every pro bono case makes a difference in its own way.”
2009—Francis Crowley was recognized with the 2009 award for his tireless advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children through the Support Center for Child Advocates. Frank was also instrumental in developing and supporting a special project to assist indigent parishioners of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He proposed this special project and has represented individual clients referred by “Parish nurses” at the Archdiocese. Frank has also represented immigrant victims of persecution who are seeking asylum in the United States, and he was an active participant in the firm’s project to assist Sudanese Lost Boys seeking refugee status in the U.S. In addition, he has represented pro bono clients in tangled title cases through Philadelphia VIP and has helped senior citizens dealing with contractor fraud through the SeniorLAW Center. Frank also finds the time to mentor and supervise young associates with their pro bono cases.
2008—Michael Feinman received the 2008 award for his tireless efforts on behalf of nonprofit organizations in New York through Lawyers Alliance of New York. For over 14 years, Michael has worked to revitalize blighted communities and to support economic development projects by providing valuable real estate assistance to non-profit organizations in developing areas of the city. Most recently, Michael represented the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation by providing legal and transactional advice related to the renovation of a former federal building to serve as a multi-use nonprofit center.
Cherylle Corpuz was also honored in 2008 for her extensive immigration pro bono work. Cherylle uses her immigration experience to assist asylum seekers from around the globe. Working with other Blank Rome attorneys, Cherylle represented asylum seekers from Iraq, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jordan, and the Ukraine. Cherylle was also instrumental in establishing the Firm’s “Safety in Numbers” pro bono program, through which attorneys represent immigrant victims of domestic violence with the filing of petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and with applications for U-Visas.
2007—Michelle Altieri was recognized for her pro bono efforts in representing a domestic violence victim who suffered from physical and emotional abuse and had been threatened by her husband with an illegal AR15 assault rifle. Ms. Altieri worked with local and state police departments to locate witnesses and confiscate the assault rifle. Through Ms. Altieri’s efforts, a Final Restraining Order was entered for the client and the court awarded the client sole legal and physical custody of her son.
With our knowledge and skills as attorneys, it is our responsibility to help those who are unable to help themselves. I am proud to be part of a Firm that recognizes that responsibility and supports pro bono and community service at every level of the organization.
2006—Michael Broadhurst and Louis Kozloff were both recognized for their extraordinary commitment to child advocacy. While advocating for abused and neglected children in dependency proceedings, Mike and Lou realized that there was a common problem in many of these cases: when a child has been the victim of sexual abuse and the abuser is prosecuted criminally, counsel for the defendant often seeks, and receives, the psychological and sexual abuse counseling records of the child-victim. All too often, defense counsel, prosecutors, and the court are not aware of the privileges which prohibit the disclosure of this private information. To address this problem and to effectuate change, Mike and Lou developed the “Child Advocacy Privacy Rights Program.” This program seeks to educate defense counsel, prosecutors, and the judiciary on the importance of protecting the privacy rights of children in neglect and abuse proceedings. Through this innovative program, they hope to make a difference in protecting the privacy of children’s psychological and sexual abuse counseling records.
2005—Katia Fano was recognized for her efforts on behalf of a young man from Columbia who was persecuted because of his sexual orientation.
“Blank Rome made it possible for this young man, who would not otherwise have had the means, to fight to escape the real threat of more physical, mental and emotional abuse, including death. It was very gratifying to assist him in forging a new life in this country.”
2004—Matt Lee received the inaugural Edwin P. Rome Pro Bono Achievement Award for pro bono work in the Philadelphia community in 2003. Matt’s many pro bono achievements include the successful defense of a non-profit social service organization in a wrongful termination employment law suit; successful representation of an elderly Russian immigrant whose adult day-care services had been terminated; and a political asylum case. Mr. Lee also volunteers with the Homeless Advocacy Project and is a volunteer with, and Board member of, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program.