Gibbons Director Michael Griffinger Honored by Volunteer Lawyers for Justice
November 18, 2010
Michael R. Griffinger, a Director in the Gibbons Business & Commercial Litigation Department and former Chairman of the Board of the Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ), was honored as a “Champion of Change” at VLJ’s 10th anniversary “Arts & Eats for Justice” gala, held November 9, at the Montclair Art Museum.
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 not-for-profit 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. Mr. Griffinger had served as VLJ’s Chair from 2007 to 2010.
“Mike is one of the attorneys at Gibbons who, from the beginning of his career, set a standard for community outreach and pro bono service that has become one of our fundamental firm-wide values,” says Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of Gibbons. “The work that VLJ does, and the work Mike does for VLJ, are critical to providing all New Jersey residents with equal access to a fair legal system.”
In addition to his work with VLJ, Mr. Griffinger is a former Chairman of the Board of Legal Services Foundation, a unique initiative to raise funds from within the legal community to support organizations that donate legal services to the poor and disenfranchised. In the 1960s he was Chairman of the Board of Essex Legal Services in the 1960s, known today as Essex-Newark Legal Services. Mr. Griffinger has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since 1995. In his service to NJPAC over the years, he has run two very successful fundraising campaigns among the local legal community. He also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, raising pledges to NJPAC for his effort, which resulted in more than $220,000. Mr. Griffinger founded the Fresh Air Fund Games, an annual fundraising softball tournament among local law firms, which raises over $100,000 every year for the Fresh Air Fund, a program providing free summer vacations to children from disadvantaged communities. He is also very active on behalf of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and he serves on the Columbia University Law School Board of Visitors and the Cornell University Council.