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On the Town: Attorneys ‘walk a mile’ in shoes of VLSP clients

VLSP Board President Frank Novak speaks while panelists look on.

Fifty Rochester attorneys recently spent the lunch hour “walking a mile in the shoes of a VLSP client.” The interactive panel discussion was hosted by Harter Secrest & Emery LLP on Oct. 25. 

Panelists as well as attendees shared their experiences using a 10 minute online poverty simulator — www.playspent.org — which challenges players to survive a month on $1,000. The event increased pro bono volunteers’ understanding of the challenges faced by low-income clients of the Volunteer Legal Service Project.

The following attorneys offered their insights as panelists: Spencer Ash, municipal attorney with the City of Rochester Law Department and president of the Rochester Black Bar Association; Rashondra Martin, associate counsel, Rochester City School District Department of Law; Raul Martinez, Faraci Lange LLP; Lucien A. Morin II, McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, PC; Karen Bailey Turner, Brown & Hutchinson; and Sharon Underberg, assistant general counsel, vice president, Legal Department, Eastman Kodak Co.

“Walk a mile in the shoes of a VLSP client” was Rochester’s contribution to the American Bar Association’s 4th annual National Celebration of Pro Bono. The Monroe County Bar Association, the Rochester Black Bar Association and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys co-sponsored the event along with VLSP.

— Photos by Linda Kostin

From left are Martin, Turner, Gaddis and Caroline Morrison.

Many local attorneys “Walked a Mile in the Shoes of a VLSP Client.”

Panelists included, from left, seated, Sharon Underberg, Karen Bailey Turner, Lucien Morin II, Raul Martinez, Rashondra Martin and Spencer Ash; standing, Sheila Gaddis.