Goodell DeVries was honored to receive the “Outstanding Volunteer Law Firm of the Year” award by the Homeless Persons Representation Project for pro-bono work with the Veterans’ Benefits Project. The firm’s pro-bono Veterans’ Benefit Project work is led by partner Craig B. Merkle and significant contributions this year were made by attorneys Shannon Madden Marshall, Sidney G. Leech, Erica W. Magliocca, Derek M. Stikeleather, and Meghan Hatfield Yanacek. The award was presented on April 11, 2011 at the annual volunteer appreciation reception held at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
When asked about the award, Mr. Merkle responded: “Too often we are consumed by the demands of our practice and our personal lives, and we fail to see the great need of many who have become invisible in society. The Veterans Benefits Project and the Homeless Persons Representation Project provide opportunities for lawyers to try to give a voice to those who have lost theirs. We are very grateful for the opportunity to help. We also extend our thanks to the many volunteers and donors who contribute their support to these valuable programs.”
The Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP), a non-profit organization, provides legal services and systemic advocacy on behalf of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HPRP is the only free legal services provider in Maryland to represent veterans in claims for veteran's benefits. The Veterans’ Benefit Project seeks to meet the legal needs of homeless veterans in Baltimore City by training volunteer attorneys in veterans benefits matters, including disability compensation and pension benefits. Veterans’ benefits are substantial enough to pay for housing, but Maryland has the highest number of homeless veterans of any surrounding state or D.C.
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