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Rick Filippi Honored as Erie County 2010 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Erie County Bar Association and Northwestern Legal Services are pleased to honor Attorney Rick Filippi as the 2010 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his perseverance and dedication on behalf of low-income clients in Erie.

In April 2006, Northwestern Legal Services represented a separated mother of four minor children who had been evicted from a public housing unit in Erie. The client lost her case at the hearing before a local magistrate judge, and when the case was appealed to the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, the court also upheld the eviction order.

Attorney Rick Filippi agreed to get involved in the case through a pro bono referral from legal aid in October 2006. After reviewing the case file, he was convinced that the client's defense rested on an important issue of law, and he appealed the Common Pleas Court decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

In August 2008 the Superior Court ruled in his client's favor, and remanded the case back to the Erie County Court of Common Pleas for a retrial, which resulted in a favorable decision for the mother and her children.

The housing authority appealed this decision back to the Pennsylvania Superior Court but the court dismissed the appeal in December 2009. During the three years and over 70 hours of billable time he devoted to the case as it made its way through our legal system, Attorney Filippi was a tenacious advocate for this low-income client who could not afford an attorney on her own, and our system of justice is better because of his efforts.

While Attorney Filippi represented this low-income client, he continued to accept other referrals from Northwestern Legal Services. During that three-year period he also represented low-income clients in cases involving an unemployment compensation claim and a real estate transaction.

For his dedication to the legal profession, and his example to his colleagues of their professional responsibility to help low-income clients who cannot afford legal representation in civil cases, NWLS and the ECBA are proud to acknowledge this year's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year to Rick Filippi.

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