Volunteer Lawyers for Justice Names Benjamin Zilbergeld as its "August Pro Bono Attorney of the Month"

Top Quote Attorney of Gregory & Reed, LLC Aids Clients Dealing with Heavy Debt at VLJ's Newark Legal Advice and Resource Clinic for Consumers. End Quote
  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) August 20, 2011 - Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) has named Benjamin Zilbergeld of Springfield, N.J., as its "August Pro Bono Attorney of the Month." Zilbergeld has been volunteering at VLJ's Newark Legal Advice and Resource Clinic for Consumers (NLARCC), helping clients with consumer debt legal issues. Zilbergeld is an associate attorney of Gregory & Reed, LLC in Parsippany, N.J., where he focuses his practice on general and business litigation.

    "NLARCC serves as a lifeline to those dealing with the burden of heavy debt and it's dedicated volunteers like Benjamin that make this program possible," said Suzanne Engelhardt, Esq., managing attorney of NLARCC. "In addition to Benjamin's impressive legal background, he has extensive knowledge of how creditors operate from years of working in the financial services industry before he began practicing law. Benjamin has been an invaluable resource to us and our clients, and we are extremely thankful to both him and Gregory & Reed for their commitment to VLJ."

    Last fall, VLJ established NLARCC to combat the flood of debt collection cases filed against low-income individuals in Newark. At the clinic, VLJ's volunteer attorneys provide legal counsel and limited scope representation to self-represented debtors dealing with a range of concerns. Those include law suits by creditors or debt collectors to recover alleged debts, credit report issues and discrepancies, garnishment of wages, harassing calls and letters on debts, and frozen bank accounts.

    "Helping clients in need is a satisfying endeavor and I am very fortunate that Gregory & Reed puts an emphasis on pro bono work," remarked Zilbergeld. "At one clinic, we had a participant who came with a stack of legal papers from creditors and no clue what to do. Understandably, she was scared and upset but we were able to help her take the first steps in resolving the matter. She was actually smiling when she left."

    Zilbergeld graduated from Seton Hall Law School in 2008 and clerked for Superior Court Judge Michael P. Wright in Morris and Sussex Counties. In this role, he handled Special Civil Part and Law Division cases involving landlord/tenant issues, consumer and commercial debt disputes, business and employment law, consumer and construction fraud, insurance coverage and personal injury litigation. Zilbergeld graduated from Rutgers University in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in political science and history.

    VLJ's Continued Need for Volunteer Attorneys

    Since its founding in 2001, VLJ has grown tremendously from a grass-roots effort of 30 volunteer attorneys in Essex County to a state-wide, non-profit with more than 1,500 volunteer attorneys now aiding thousands of low-income clients each year. Programs include free legal counsel and advice, educational seminars on various legal matters, and direct representation for at-risk individuals facing critical civil legal issues. In order to continue this essential work, VLJ is in constant need of volunteer attorneys.

    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. 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."

    Please visit VLJ's web site at www.vljnj.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and upcoming consumer law clinics.

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