Since 2009, Morin has accepted 26 pro bono bankruptcy cases for low-income residents of Monroe County. The value of his donated legal services is more than $28,000.
The New York State Bar Association presented its 2012 President's Pro Bono Service Awards at the annual Law Day luncheon held on May 1, 2012 at the State Bar Center in Albany. State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo, a partner in the firm of Connors & Vilardo, presided at this year's ceremony along with President-Elect Seymour W. James, Jr. of Brooklyn's Legal Aid Society and George H. Lowe of Syracuse, former U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York and of counsel to Bond, Schoeneck & King.
Rochester attorney Lucien A. Morin, II, son of Lucien A. Morin, Monroe County's first elected County Executive, received the NYSBA President's Pro Bono Service Award for the Seventh Judicial District, comprising Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties.
Morin, a partner in the firm of McConville, Considine, Cooman & Morin, P.C., was nominated for this honor by Sheila A. Gaddis, Esq., Executive Director of Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc. (VLSP). Joining in support of the nomination were the Hon. Michael A. Telesca, US District Judge, the Hon. Paul R. Warren, US Bankruptcy Judge and attorneys C. Bruce Lawrence, Kevin Bambury and Hope Olsson.
Since the economic collapse of 2008, Morin - a VLSP volunteer for over twenty years - has twice cleared the backlog of VLSP bankruptcy cases awaiting placement. "In 2009, Lou vowed to clear a bankruptcy backlog of twenty-two cases awaiting placement. He was moved by the plight of formerly middle class people, single mothers, and seniors struggling more than ever to make ends meet in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Having completed work on these cases, in February 2012 Lou once again stepped up and accepted VLSP's backlog of 4 bankruptcy cases," said Gaddis.
The value of his donated legal services is more than $28,000.
Single mothers and grandmothers raising grandchildren comprise the majority of VLSP's bankruptcy clients. As a volunteer, Morin also has helped veterans and senior citizens. "Sometimes there are unintended consequences to grandma's generosity if she co-signs for a grandchild's loan and then the grandchild defaults," Morin said. Regardless of their particular situations, Morin noted that his VLSP clients have something in common: "They have not only the need but the desire to put their financial house in order. They don't want to repeat the process in eight years."
While quietly and diligently working to eradicate the bankruptcy case backlog, Morin continued to volunteer for VLSP's Debt Collection Advice Clinic, where he provided instruction and brief advice and counsel for 301clients since 2007.
Mr. Morin is very vocal in his belief that every member of the bar should take at least one pro bono case per year. "A prominent member of the Rochester legal community, Lou never misses an opportunity to recruit new volunteers. He uses every available platform - Monroe County Bar Association Bankruptcy Committee meetings, continuing legal education programs, his service as a Chapter 7 Trustee and more – to raise awareness of the need for increased pro bono service," said Gaddis.
Mr. Morin also has contributed to the development of pro bono in Rochester by serving as a founding member of VLSP's Bankruptcy Advisory Committee. Established in 2009, the Committee has formulated a framework for the upcoming implementation of a pro se clinic in Rochester. As a Chapter 7 Trustee since 1991, Mr. Morin's perspective is especially valuable.
VLSP recently secured a grant through the American College of Bankruptcy to purchase for use at the pro se clinic the Best Case software program used by many bankruptcy practitioners. Mr. Morin and another volunteer attorney, Hope Olsson, will serve as consultants to VLSP staff while they become familiar with the software. With a pro se bankruptcy option available, more VLSP clients will be able to get a fresh start by freeing themselves from crushing debt.
Contact: Linda Kostin, Esq.
Pro Bono Coordinator
Volunteer Legal Services Project