Monroe County Bar Association Donates $80,000 to NPLS
The Monroe County Bar Association has presented another $80,000 contribution to North Penn Legal Services taking the four-year funding total to nearly $320,000. Funds presented will continue to subsidize the Stroudsburg office, dedicated to providing free civil legal services to low income families, costs for professional staff July 2017 through June 2018.
Covering all of Monroe and Pike counties, the contribution enables North Penn to continue to retain full-time attorney Caitlin Humphreys dedicated to Monroe County; with the organization’s Office Manager, Attorney Jim Butz, assigned to Pike assisting with Monroe overflow. Without the support, Butz would bear the burden of absorbing both regions and pro-bono capabilities would suffer leaving very little legal aid to Monroe County.
“The Monroe County Bar Association is extremely pleased to again be able to provide funding to assist North Penn Legal Services to engage a full-time staff attorney and part-time administrative assistant dedicated to providing legal representation to those residents of Monroe County least able to afford it,” stated Monroe County Bar Association President Tim McManus.
North Penn Legal Services Executive Director Vicki Coyle commented, “Annually, the Monroe County Bar Association has been the single largest charitable donor to support civil legal aid in the 20 counties serviced by North Penn Legal Services,” reporting more than 900 cases accommodated since adding attorney Humphreys on board.
While financial assistance is critical, MCBA’s role stems beyond revenue resourcing establishing programs such as MCBA’s Modest Means Program (MMP) and collaboratively working with North Penn by holding clinics for low income individuals and families in key legal service areas such as Custody and Expungements.
Launched last October, the Modest Means Program is designed to assist county residents in lower income brackets that North Penn is unable to service. Qualified clients may be able to obtain a lawyer to represent them, in a limited scope, with specific legal issues. Included are those that affect one’s ability to be employed like a suspended driver’s license or criminal record that may be expunged. Representation for simple divorces, child support and custody is also available within MMP’s pre-set guidelines; along with matters such as home foreclosure, tenant representation, collections and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Simple and living wills, plus Powers of Attorney add to covered issues.
Working out of MCBA offices since 2013, the Commission on Economic Opportunity’s (CEO) has provided mortgage foreclosure mitigation counseling for more than 200 Monroe County families. Housing Counselor Neal Tarulli provides a detailed review of each case and prepares for submission a comprehensive loan modification to the lender. CEO’s success rate in obtaining approvals for modifications exceeds 75%.
Indicating the need to offer pro-bono benefits is evident to Monroe County Bar Association, Vice President Mark Primrose vows, “As long as we [MCBA] have the funds to do it [fund North Penn Legal Services] we’ll continue to do it.”