Pro Bono Partnership Honors Volunteers of the Year

White Plains, NY – May 6, 2016: Pro Bono Partnership (“the Partnership”), a nonprofit legal assistance provider serving New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut nonprofit organizations, celebrated its Volunteers of the Year for 2015 at regional events hosted throughout its service area. The Partnership honored Susan L. Crane, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation; Chris A. Johnson, FTI Consulting; Peter Dagostine and Susan N. Masters, Robinson + Cole LLP; Tiffany R. Hubbard, McCarter & English, LLP; Christophe Durrer, Colgate-Palmolive Company; William Malpica, RBS; and Terrence J. McAllister, Ohlandt, Greeley, Ruggiero & Perle, L.L.P.

“The Partnership is proud to celebrate the contributions of these dedicated volunteers who have delivered exemplary pro bono service. By volunteering to assist our clients, their legal work has had a multiplier effect of positively impacting the communities the clients serve,” said Executive Director Marcia Levy.


Honoree: Susan L. Crane, Group Vice President, Legal – Intellectual Property, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation
Award Presenter: Sandra Miniutti, V.P. of Marketing & CFO, Charity Navigator

Since 2009 Susan Crane has handled 19 trademark and other intellectual property matters for numerous Pro Bono Partnership clients. Sue recently volunteered for an unusual project which required unique qualifications. Charity Navigator, the country’s largest independent charity evaluator, asked for assistance in registering its trademark in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She enlisted counsel in each of those countries to provide their services in registering the mark for free. Sue managed the entire process for Charity Navigator and succeeded in getting the mark registered or approved in each country.

Honoree: Chris A. Johnson, Manager, State and Local Taxation, FTI Consulting
Award Presenter: Jonathan Lucas, Board Chair, Hudson Pride Connections Center

Since 2007 Chris Johnson has been one of Pro Bono Partnership’s go-to experts for highly complex nonprofit tax law matters. He stepped up for Hudson Pride Connections Center this past year when the organization, which serves as a home and voice for the diverse LGBTQ community and allies, needed an experienced and knowledgeable tax professional to respond to and resolve an inquiry from the IRS. Chris provided expert advice and guidance to achieve a successful result.


Honoree: Peter Dagostine, Counsel, Robinson + Cole LLP
Award Presenter: Maureen McIntyre, Executive Director, North Central Area Agency on Aging

Since 2013, Pete has handled 12 legal projects for nine clients. The clients he has assisted range from a very small Hartford organization that works with disabled children of color to a large regional state-funded organization that serves the elderly — and everything in between. His pro bono projects have included assistance with training and consultations on labor issues, review of proper classification of employees, revision of employee handbooks, counsel regarding problem employees, guidance on possible ADA situations, and more. For each of his clients, Pete has provided wise and critical counsel, enabling the clients to feel sure-footed even when dealing with very challenging HR situations.

Honoree: Susan N. Masters, Associate, Robinson + Cole LLP
Award Presenter: Yolanda Preysner, Board Member, Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind

In just two years, Susan accepted 11 different matters for seven clients. Her projects covered a span of human resources issues, including reviewing handbooks, providing counsel regarding classification of employees as exempt versus non-exempt, advising regarding independent contractors and volunteers, developing employment applications, and providing assistance with background checks. For one client, she even delved into corporate governance matters. With her guidance the client was able to restructure the organization and learn how to better fulfill their fiduciary duties as Board members.

Honoree: Tiffany R. Hubbard, Associate, McCarter & English, LLP
Award Presenter: Laura Cordes, Executive Director, Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly ConnSACS – CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services)

Over her more than six-year tenure as a Partnership volunteer, Tiffany has handled projects including reviewing employee handbooks, assisting with administration of employee grievance procedures, drafting employment applications and offer letters, and providing counsel on sensitive termination situations. Tiffany often has chosen to work with clients that serve women who are homeless or who have been victims of sexual assault. In fact, Tiffany’s most time-consuming and complex projects have been for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly CONNSACS), for which she is developing a handbook to advise staff regarding their confidentiality obligations under statute and their obligations if subpoenaed. She is also working with the Alliance on a new booklet to help victims understand their rights related to the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse.


Honoree: Christophe Durrer, Assistant General Counsel, Global Strategic Innovation and Technology Alliances at Colgate-Palmolive Company
Award Presenter: Eva Tenuto, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Starling Productions/TMI Project

Since becoming a volunteer three years ago, Christophe has assisted ten clients with ten different matters ranging from reviewing an enrollment contract for a local day care center to assisting in the dissolution of a nonprofit. One of the many projects Christophe worked on was creating a template contract for Starling Productions, a nonprofit which produces TMI Project, an initiative that provides transformative memoir writing and storytelling workshops and performances that invite storytellers and audience members to explore new perspectives. Before Christophe’s intervention, TMI Project was negotiating each contract for each workshop and/or performance on a case-by-case basis. Thanks to Christophe’s efforts, TMI Project now has a template contract that it can quickly modify for anything from a workshop to a weekend-long retreat, letting Starling devote its resources to helping its clients heal themselves.

Honoree: William Malpica, Director and Senior Counsel, Corporate & Institutional Banking at RBS
Award Presenter: Catalina Samper-Horak, Executive Director, Neighbors Link Stamford

William (Wil) has helped several Partnership clients with complex and important matters. Standout projects include helping a group of Stamford civic and business leaders negotiate a complex licensing and affiliation arrangement with an existing organization in neighboring Westchester County, New York to establish “Neighbors Link Stamford.” Today, the organization helps hundreds of individuals and families in Stamford access education, employment, health and other services. Since their founding Wil has acted as their go-to pro bono counsel, advising on all legal and strategic matters, including contracts, employment matters, licensing, insurance, leases, bylaws amendments, corporate and board governance matters. Wil also has represented Stamford-based Inspirica, one of the largest organizations in Connecticut serving the homeless, in its efforts to merge its charitable foundation into the parent organization. In addition to his direct pro bono activities, Wil has also been a staunch proponent of pro bono work within the RBS legal department where, as pro bono coordinator, he recruits and guides RBS colleagues who take on pro bono projects.

Honoree: Terrence J. McAllister, Partner at Ohlandt, Greeley, Ruggiero & Perle, L.L.P.
Award Presenter: Sandford (Sandy) Wollman, President and Founder, Small Business Advisory Alliance

For eight years, Terrence McAllister, a partner and head of the Trademark Practice Group at Ohlandt, Greeley, Ruggiero & Perle, L.L.P., has been an outstanding volunteer, bringing his keen intelligence, down-to-earth approach, and excellent sense of humor to every project he handles. He has assisted nearly twenty organizations, including Pro Bono Partnership, with matters ranging from trademark registration to copyright protection to website reviews. Terry’s clients noted his particular gift for distilling complicated concepts into practical advice that they could understand and implement. To quote one of his clients, Terry’s work has “immeasurable value” for the organizations he helps.

Mindi Lund, Director of Marketing
914-328-0674 ext. 339