Volunteer Lawyers for Justice "10th Anniversary Arts & Eats for Justice Gala" Draws New Jersey Notables

Top Quote Event Raises Funds For VLJ's Pro Bono Legal Services to Economically-Disadvantaged Individuals. End Quote
  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) November 16, 2010 - New Jersey notables gathered at Volunteer Lawyers for Justice's (VLJ) "10th Anniversary Arts & Eats for Justice Gala" to celebrate the non-profit's decade of service and honor the State's "Champions of Change." Since its founding, VLJ has grown from a grass roots effort of 30 volunteer attorneys in Essex County to a state-wide not-for-profit with five staff attorneys and more than 1,500 volunteer attorneys aiding thousands of economically-disadvantaged clients each year. The Gala raised funds for VLJ's programs, which include free legal counsel and advice, educational seminars on various legal matters, and direct representation for at-risk individuals facing critical civil legal issues.

    "What a thrilling night for us," said Karen Sacks, Esq., founding executive director of VLJ. "As I look around the room tonight, it's impossible to miss the enthusiasm of our dedicated volunteers and supporters for the work we do at VLJ. We cannot thank them enough for enabling us to help thousands upon thousands of clients struggling with legal issues during the last decade."

    Held at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, N.J., the fundraiser featured gourmet cuisine from the area's top restaurants and tours of the "Living for Art: the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection" exhibit as well as live jazz and a silent auction. Marvin C. Adames, Esq., Newark's Chief Municipal Prosecutor, was event chair, and Race Taylor, popular host of 95.5 WPLJ, served as the master of ceremonies. Sponsors included McCarter & English, LLP; Merck & Co., Inc.; Gibbons P.C.; Lowenstein Sandler, PC; Pfizer Inc.; AT&T; Patton Boggs, LLP; PSE&G; and White & Case LLP.

    Individual "Champions of Change" honorees included Marvin C. Adames, Esq.; Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker; Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman; Hon. Dickinson R. Debevoise; Hon. Paula T. Dow; Susan A. Feeney, Esq.; Michael R. Griffinger, Esq.; and Ruth D. Lowenkron, Esq. Organizations honored as "Champions of Change" were the Newark Municipal Prosecutor's Office; Gibbons P.C.; McCarter & English, LLP; the Education Law Center; Merck & Co., Inc.; and The Merck Company Foundation. At the Gala, The Legal Services Foundation of Essex County gave out their annual Dickinson R. Debevoise and Douglas S. Eakeley Awards, which were awarded to Lowenstein Sandler PC and Karen B. Sacks, Esq., respectively.

    Since its inception, VLJ has concentrated on the areas of greatest need for economically-disadvantaged individuals including bankruptcy, family law, education, and consumer law. VLJ also focuses on helping low-income Essex County residents with criminal records address the civil legal barriers that serve as obstacles to their successful community reintegration with its Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe). Through direct in-house representation as well as through referrals to volunteer attorneys, ReLeSe assists its clients with driver's license restoration, resolution of long out-standing municipal matters, modification of child support orders, and the expungement of criminal records.

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