January 14, 2011
National Individual Award Benefits Local Society
~ written by Mindi Schaefer
As was reported in the October 22, 2010, edition of The Daily Reporter, the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio’s own Teresa Scharf, Chairperson of PACO’s Pro Bono Committee, was awarded the Individual Pro Bono Award for Exhibiting Outstanding Dedication in the area of Pro Bono Service to the Public by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations at its annual convention in Philadelphia. Three weeks later, NFPA announced that in addition to this recognition, the national organization would be contributing $1,000.00 to the pro bono project of Ms. Scharf’s choice.
Naturally and without hesitation, Ms. Scharf asked that the funds be disbursed to the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. Last week, the check was sent to Marcia Palof, Manager of Intake at Legal Aid. “It has been very humbling and equally exciting to receive this recognition,” Ms. Scharf stated. “My hope is that this gift from NFPA will help ease the financial strain upon LASC at least a little, and that the award will call greater attention to the efforts that PACO and LASC are making in reaching and helping people in our society who simply cannot afford to pay for much-need legal services.”
During a recent interview, Ms. Palof said “it has been an honor to work with Teresa Scharf and PACO on the Pro Bono Wills Clinics and Interfaith Legal Clinics. She is an inspiration for both her dedication to the cause and ability to manage huge projects quickly and smoothly.” Ms. Palof further stated “the Legal Aid Society of Columbus is currently setting up a Volunteer Resource Center to be staffed by volunteer attorneys, and we intend to use this wonderful gift as seed money for new projects to increase our pro bono efforts.”
PACO’s Pro Bono Committee, led by Ms. Scharf, has collaborated with LASC and Ms. Palof to conduct Wills Clinics at senior citizen retirement facilities and community centers across the Central Ohio area each month. Last month, a training class was conducted to instruct and equip attorneys and paralegals in volunteering at these Clinics. The course was videotaped and will available on DVD for those who would like to complete the instruction and volunteer at any of the upcoming Clinics in 2011. If you would like more information, send an e-mail to Ms. Scharf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Scharf is a litigation paralegal at the law firm of Newhouse Prophater Letcher & Moots. She credits and thanks the senior partner of the firm, Wes Newhouse, for his support and encouragement in her role of organizing and facilitating the Wills Clinics, as well as all the partners and attorneys at the firm.
Pictured: Teresa Scharf