On October 25, 2022, the City Bar Justice Center commemorated the tremendous support of eleven volunteers, who were awarded with a 2022 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award, for their remarkable commitment to our clients and for championing our team’s mission to advance access to justice. Congratulations!

Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Pro Bono Volunteers

The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project provides legal assistance to micro-entrepreneurs and aims to promote economic empowerment among entrepreneurs and small businesses. 

Erin P. Kelly and Janine Tramontana were charged with the responsibility of launching a pro bono program at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (FRBNY) and came to the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) in February 2021 eager to get their attorneys and staff involved in the Justice Center’s projects in their individual capacities. Within the past year, Janine, Erin, and FRBNY attorneys and staff have engaged in multiple projects across the Justice Center. Because of Janine’s and Erin’s leadership and commitment to pro bono, their attorneys and staff have assisted in writing and executing Wills and other life planning documents, hosted an in-person estate planning clinic for LGBTQ homeowners who are seniors and/or living with disabilities, engaged in review of voluminous records as well as research and writing for veterans’ cases, and presented webinars on frauds, scams, and financial literacy for those struggling with consumer debt. 

But Erin and Janine’s work and commitment do not stop there.  They became dedicated partners of the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP), and have led their legal team with enthusiasm and, most notably, by example.    

Janine, Erin, and 35 FRBNY volunteers assisted the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project by staffing legal clinics that assisted 55 entrepreneurs, conducting online presentations that reached 171 entrepreneurs, and engaging in direct representation. 

 Janine has volunteered at legal clinics and has also given several online presentations to entrepreneurs on business entity formation. Her ability to personalize the presentations with stories of her family’s business ventures not only endeared her to attendees but also relayed her knowledge of some of the issues impacting entrepreneurs as they look to begin their small business journeys.   

Erin similarly has volunteered at NELP legal clinics providing advice on entity formation and intellectual property issues. She, too, has participated in several online community presentations. In particular, Erin volunteered to work with outside counsel and develop new presentation materials on cybersecurity issues for small businesses, an area frequently overlooked because many micro entrepreneurs are not thought to have sophisticated businesses in need of such assistance. But with her NELP experiences and background in technology, Erin was able to help create relevant materials providing best practices that resonated with the attendees. 

Our partnership with FRBNY, and Erin Kelly and Janine Tramontana in particular, has been fruitful and rewarding not only for those of us at CBJC who have had the opportunity to work with them but, most notably, for the numerous entrepreneurs they have assisted through their pro bono activities.  

We are honored to present a 2022 Outstanding Pro Bono Award to Erin and Janine for their commitment to serving NYC’s entrepreneurial community.