Volunteer Lawyers for Justice Appoints Five New Members to its Board of Trustees

Top Quote During Last Decade, Newark, N.J.-Based Non-Profit Has Provided Comprehensive Pro Bono Legal Services to Economically-Disadvantaged Individuals. End Quote
  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) February 18, 2011 - Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) has appointed five new members to its board of trustees including David Bershad; Emily Goldberg, Esq.; Jeremy Johnson; Elitza Meyer, Esq.; and Brian Saltzman. Established in 2001, the Newark, N.J.-based not-for-profit provides comprehensive pro bono legal services to economically-disadvantaged individuals in New Jersey.

    "We are thrilled to welcome David, Emily, Jeremy, Elitza and Brian to our board, each of whom brings vast experience and a proven record of leadership to the role as well as a strong commitment to VLJ," said Karen Sacks, Esq., founding executive director of VLJ. The new members will serve on the board for a two-year term.

    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. VLJ's programs include free legal counsel and advice; educational seminars on various legal matters such as consumer law, bankruptcy, family law, and special education; and direct representation for at-risk individuals facing critical civil legal issues.

    In addition, VLJ's Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe) 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. 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.

    New Trustees Bring Diverse Range of Experience to Board
    Bershad is the principal of the David Bershad Family Foundation and a former partner of Milberg Weiss, a plaintiff's class action firm. He holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. from Cornell University. Bershad is assisting VLJ's ReLeSe with program development issues.

    Goldberg, Esq., currently serves as the Pro Bono Director of McCarter & English, LLP and is a former visiting professor with the Civil Litigation Clinic at Seton Hall University School of Law. Previously, she was a Gibbons fellow and a NAPIL fellow for the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and the National Women's Law Center. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Lawrence M. McKenna (S.D.N.Y.). Goldberg obtained her J.D. from New York University Law School and a B.A. from Tufts University.

    Johnson is the philanthropic liaison to the City of Newark, a new office created to link the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers with Mayor Cory Booker's administration. Prior to this role, Johnson was the chief development officer of the Bergen Performing Arts Center and the assistant vice president of the development initiatives at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Johnson earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa and his B.A. from Kenyon College.

    Meyer serves as assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. An active VLJ volunteer, Meyer received the 2010 Bernard Kutner Award by the Essex County Bar Association and VLJ's 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award. She has held several board positions including membership on the board of the New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association. She graduated cum laude with her J.D. from American University's Washington College of Law and obtained her B.A. from Cornell University.

    Saltzman is a vice president with Alliance Bernstein, where he advises high net-worth individuals and institutions regarding investment strategies. In conjunction with the firm's Wealth Management Group, he works closely with clients on a wide range of investment matters including tax and estate planning, concentrated stock positions and the sale of privately-held businesses. Saltzman earned his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

    "For the last ten years, VLJ has worked to level the playing field for all within New Jersey's legal system," remarked Julien X. Neals, Esq., chair of VLJ's board of trustees. "As we look ahead in 2011 and beyond, David, Emily, Jeremy, Elitza and Brian will play an integral role in the continued development and expansion of VLJ's programming to meet the needs of the under-served in our communities."

    Frequently recognized for its contributions to the community, VLJ received the "Community Builder Award" from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice in 2008 and was the 2007 recipient of the New Jersey State Bar Association's "Annual Pro Bono Award." VLJ is an approved legal services provider of the New Jersey Supreme Court. This designation allows certain court costs and filing fees to be waived for VLJ's clients, enables VLJ volunteer attorneys to claim an exemption from mandatory pro bono assignments after 25 hours of voluntary service, and provides the opportunity for out-of-state attorneys to volunteer with the program.

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