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VLSP volunteer attorney honored by NYSBA

Rochester attorney Lucien A. Morin II was honored last week when the New York State Bar Association presented its 2012 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards at its annual Law Day luncheon at the State Bar Center in Albany.

Lucien, a partner at McConville, Considine, Cooman & Morin PC, was nominated by Sheila A. Gaddis, executive director of Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County Inc.

Since the economic collapse of 2008, Morin — a VLSP volunteer for more than 20 years — has twice cleared the backlog of VLSP bankruptcy cases awaiting placement.

“In 2009, Lou vowed to clear a bankruptcy backlog of 22 cases awaiting placement,” said Gaddis. “He was moved by the plight of formerly middle class people, single mothers and seniors struggling more than ever to make ends meet in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Having completed work on these cases, in February 2012, Lou once again stepped up and accepted VLSP’s backlog of four bankruptcy cases.”

His donated legal services are valued at more than $28,000.

Single mothers and grandmothers raising grandchildren comprise the majority of VLSP’s bankruptcy clients. As a volunteer, Morin also has helped veterans and senior citizens. “Sometimes there are unintended consequences to grandma’s generosity if she co-signs for a grandchild’s loan and then the grandchild defaults,” Morin said.

While working to eradicate the bankruptcy case backlog, Morin continued to volunteer for VLSP’s Debt Collection Advice Clinic, providing instruction, brief advice and counsel for 301clients since 2007.

Morin is vocal in his belief that every member of the bar should take at least one pro bono case per year and never misses an opportunity to recruit new volunteers. He also has contributed to the development of pro bono in Rochester by serving as a founding member of VLSP’s Bankruptcy Advisory Committee, which has put together the framework for implementation of a pro se clinic in Rochester.

VLSP recently secured a grant through the American College of Bankruptcy to purchase the Best Case software program, used by many bankruptcy practitioners, for use at the pro se clinic.

Morin, a Chapter 7 Trustee since 1991, and another volunteer attorney, Hope Olsson, will serve as consultants to VLSP staff while they become familiar with the software. With a pro se bankruptcy option available, more VLSP clients will be able to get a fresh start by freeing themselves from crushing debt.

Supporting Morin’s nomination were U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Telesca; the Hon. Paul R. Warren, U.S. Bankruptcy judge; and attorneys C. Bruce Lawrence, Kevin Bambury and Olsson.

NYSBA President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo), presided over the ceremony, along with President-elect Seymour W. James Jr. of Brooklyn’s Legal Aid Society and George H. Lowe of Syracuse, former U.S. Magistrate judge for the Northern District of New York and of counsel to Bond, Schoeneck & King.

Morin is the son of Lucien A. Morin, Monroe County’s first elected county executive.