Lawyers share a deep sense of responsibility to provide legal services to those who cannot afford to retain counsel. The Legal Aid Society of Monmouth County is celebrating its seventieth year of enlisting volunteers from the Monmouth Bar Association to do just that.

The Legal Aid Society is governed by a hardworking Board of Trustees, comprised of lawyers and lay people who give countless hours of their time to administer the program, screen cases, enlist volunteer attorneys, assign cases to volunteers, and obtain feedback when each case is finished. That information is taken into account in evaluating how the program can best be
maintained and improved.

Over the past seventy years thousands of Monmouth County residents have had quality legal representation, that they otherwise could not have afforded, due to the Legal Aid Society and its many volunteers.

Justice Daniel J. O’Hern of the Supreme Court of New Jersey served as Trustee for many years. Justice O’Hern was, throughout his life, the embodiment of  selfless public service. When he passed away in 2009, the Board decided to honor his memory by presenting an annual award in his name to the lawyer or lawyers who made a significant contribution to the justice system through pro bono efforts on behalf of deserving residents of Monmouth County and who
demonstrated professional excellence through their altruistic service to the indigent and the community during their career.

I am proud and humbled to report that I was selected as one of the recipients of the 2020 Justice Daniel J. O’Hern Award from the Legal Aid Society. It came as a surprise and was certainly not the motivation for volunteering to serve, but is a special recognition of which I am extremely proud. Many other lawyers also gave freely of their time last year, as they do every year, to help provide as many members of our community with legal services. And that is another reason receiving this award is so special to me.

Lawyers are often the brunt of criticism. It’s important to know how many lawyers are truly interested in serving their community. They don’t do it to be recognized and most often are not. But it’s important to know how dozens of lawyers every year in Monmouth County are working tirelessly and silently to provide this necessary service.