Gibbons Attorney Mary Frances Palisano Receives Pro Bono Award From New Jersey State Bar Association
July 29, 2015
The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) will present Mary Frances Palisano, Counsel in the Criminal Defense Department at Gibbons P.C. and Pro Bono Coordinator for the firm, with one of its 2015 Pro Bono Awards at the organization’s Eighth Annual Pro Bono Conference on October 27, 2015.
Ms. Palisano was selected for a Pro Bono Award in recognition of her leadership role in the firm’s award-winning, nationally recognized pro bono program, which she has significantly expanded in terms of scope, external partnerships, and regional impact. She seeks out meaningful pro bono work for Gibbons attorneys; fields requests from outside organizations, firm attorneys, and clients with particular pro bono interests; actively manages nearly 200 pro bono cases; coordinates clinics; and mentors and oversees the pro bono work of associates. In her first year leading the Gibbons Pro Bono Program, it set a record, exceeding the prior year’s pro bono hours by 3,000. Moreover, more than 70 percent of the firm’s attorneys took part in pro bono work, with 50 percent dedicating more than 20 hours to pro bono matters in 2013 and 2014 – also a firm record.
“Mary Fran’s commitment to pro bono work and to her clients is exemplary. She has not only been integral in expanding our firm-wide commitment, but she also goes out of her way to handle many pro bono cases personally,” said Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of the firm. “She truly makes a profound difference in the lives of so many who cannot afford legal representation.”
Ms. Palisano particularly focuses on helping the following groups and meeting the following community needs: victims of domestic violence; children with special needs; military personnel and first responders; homeless and tenants’ rights advocacy; prisoners’ rights and reentry issues; and advocacy for asylum seekers. She has also strengthened key pro bono partnerships, by implementing new programs with – to name just a few – Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Partners for Women and Justice, the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, Veterans Justice Initiative, State of New Jersey Fugitive Safe Surrender Program, and Human Rights First, as well as with corporate partners AT&T and PSE&G.