Gibbons Director Mary Frances Palisano Elected to Board of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice


June 8, 2017

Mary Frances Palisano, a Director in the Criminal Defense Department of Gibbons P.C. and Pro Bono Coordinator for the Firm, has been elected to the Board of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ).

VLJ provides economically disadvantaged adults, children, and families in New Jersey with pro bono representation and advice, to ensure for them fair and equal treatment within the legal system. Since its founding, VLJ has grown from a grassroots effort of 30 volunteer attorneys in Essex County to a statewide nonprofit with five staff attorneys and more than 1,500 volunteers aiding thousands of clients each year. VLJ’s 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.

As the Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and its Pro Bono Coordinator, Ms. Palisano mentors associates, seeks out meaningful pro bono opportunities for the firm’s attorneys, and actively manages nearly 200 cases. Through her work in this area, the firm has had record-setting years in pro bono hours and was named a “Hero of Sandy” by VLJ for Hurricane Sandy related pro bono work. In 2015, Ms. Palisano was chosen by the New Jersey State Bar Association for one of its annual Pro Bono. In addition, she was featured in an issue of NJBIZ in an article focusing on the pro bono legal clinics sponsored by Gibbons. In addition to Ms. Palisano’s work as the Gibbons Pro Bono Chair and Pro Bono Coordinator, she personally handles pro bono cases and attends pro bono clinics throughout the year. She also has extensive experience in a broad range of criminal defense matters in New Jersey and New York, including, but not limited to, state charges, federal crimes, and municipal court offenses.

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A description of the selection process methodology for the awards referenced is available at