On October 26, 2020, the City Bar Justice Center commemorated the tremendous response of ten volunteer attorneys who rose to meet the challenges of 2020, awarding each of them with a 2020 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award. Our honorees demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting disadvantaged New Yorkers, particularly in times of crisis. Congratulations!

Consumer Bankruptcy Project: Carrie V. Hardman, Partner at Winston & Strawn LLP

The Consumer Bankruptcy (CBP) provides legal advice and bankruptcy assistance to low-income New Yorkers burdened with consumer debt.

Zealous advocacy and commitment to pro bono coupled with empathy, patience, cultural competence, and sensitivity are characteristics that shine in outstanding pro bono service. Carrie Hardman, partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, who has been participating in the Project’s “Bankruptcy Fresh Start” clinics since 2018, exhibits all of these traits. Filing bankruptcy is a scary process, particularly for low-income consumers who cannot afford to retain counsel. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, Ms. Hardman uses her skills to provide legal assistance to those who could not otherwise afford it, and she does it in a respectful, kind, and compassionate manner that preserves our clients’ dignities through such a daunting process.

Ms. Hardman’s first pro bono client with the City Bar Justice Center was an elderly widow, living on a fixed retirement income, burdened with high medical debt, and terrified about filing for bankruptcy – she thought she would be arrested for not paying her medical bills. Ms. Hardman patiently explained how bankruptcy worked, outlined the requirements for filing for bankruptcy, and empowered her client by assuring her that she was within her rights to obtain bankruptcy relief (and would not go to jail). Ms. Hardman also assisted her client with the preparation of the required bankruptcy forms, which led to a successful discharge of her client’s medical debt. Her advice and empathy gave her pro bono client the courage she needed to obtain a fresh start.

Ms. Hardman possesses a combination of admirable legal skills – plus generosity, patience and commitment. We are honored to recognize that, and to present her with a 2020 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award.