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MVLS hands out honors at annual Celebrate Pro Bono awards

The Celebrate Pro Bono winners gather for a group photo at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore. Front row, from left, Betsy Simon, Z-HAP (Partnership of the Year); Bonnie Sullivan, retired executive director of the Maryland Volunteer Law Service (Special Recognition Award); Franzella Hayward Starkey (Volunteer of the Year); and Susan Francis, MVLS executive director. Back row, Thomas Mullinazi, Mullinazi Law Office (10-Year Award); Leonard Kelly, (Community Impact Award); Anthony May, an associate with Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP (Young Lawyer of the Year); Lawrence D. Coppel, president of the MVLS Board of Directors (10-Year Award); Matt Vocci, Jane Santoni and Chelsea Ortega, founding members of Santoni, Vocci, & Ortega LLC (Law Firm of the Year). (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

The Celebrate Pro Bono winners gather for a group photo at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore. Front row, from left, Betsy Simon, Z-HAP (Partnership of the Year); Bonnie Sullivan, retired executive director of the Maryland Volunteer Law Service (Special Recognition Award); Franzella Hayward Starkey (Volunteer of the Year); and Susan Francis, MVLS executive director. Back row, Thomas Mullinazi, Mullinazi Law Office (10-Year Award); Leonard Kelly, (Community Impact Award); Anthony May, an associate with Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP (Young Lawyer of the Year); Lawrence D. Coppel, president of the MVLS Board of Directors (10-Year Award); Matt Vocci, Jane Santoni and Chelsea Ortega, founding members of Santoni, Vocci, & Ortega LLC (Law Firm of the Year). (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, Gordon Fineblatt colleagues Alexandria Montaino, Amanda Chong and Bryan Mull attended the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, Gordon Fineblatt colleagues Alexandria Montaino, Amanda Chong and Bryan Mull attended the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, E. Hutchinson Robbins, a principal with Miles & Stockbridge; Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals; Bonnie Sullivan, former executive director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Susan Francis, current MVLS executive director, enjoy the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, E. Hutchinson Robbins, a principal with Miles & Stockbridge; Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals; Bonnie Sullivan, former executive director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Susan Francis, current MVLS executive director, enjoy the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, Joseph Githiku, a solo practitioner; Alexa Bertinelli, senior staff attorney with Civil Justice Inc.’ and Tom Minton, of Goldman & Minton P.C., attended the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

From left, Joseph Githiku, a solo practitioner; Alexa Bertinelli, senior staff attorney with Civil Justice Inc.’ and Tom Minton, of Goldman & Minton P.C., attended the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

Santoni, Vocci & Ortega LLC founding members Matthew Vocci, far left; Jane Santoni, center; and Chelsea Ortega, far right, pose for a photo with Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, second from left, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals; and Susan Francis, executive director of the Maryland Volunteer Law Service, during the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. The firm was recognized at the event for being named Law Firm of the Year. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

Santoni, Vocci & Ortega LLC founding members Matthew Vocci, far left; Jane Santoni, center; and Chelsea Ortega, far right, pose for a photo with Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, second from left, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals; and Susan Francis, executive director of the Maryland Volunteer Law Service, during the Celebrate Pro Bono awards. The firm was recognized at the event for being named Law Firm of the Year. (Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

(Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

(Photo by Erik Hoffman, Petruzzo Photography LLC)

A total of 225 guests came to the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore Oct. 15 as the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) held its annual Celebrate Pro Bono awards program.

The event recognized the accomplishments and dedication by volunteer attorneys and community partners, who deliver life-changing services to Maryland residents who may not have the resources to pay for attorney fees. These volunteers and partners are helping to keep families together, people in their homes and creating new futures for many residents. They are recognized for their dedication to helping the Marylanders and MVLS hopes their stories inspire other attorneys to donate their time and expertise.

Because of the generosity of sponsors and donors, more than $38,500 was raised to support life-changing access to justice for Marylanders in need across the state.

Award winners included Betsy Simon, Z-HAP (Partnership of the Year); Franzella Hayward Starkey (Volunteer of the Year); Anthony May, an associate with Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP (Young Lawyer of the Year); Leonard Kelly (Community Impact Award); Anthony May, an associate with Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP (Young Lawyer of the Year); and Matt Vocci, Jane Santoni and Chelsea Ortega, founding members of Santoni, Vocci, & Ortega LLC (Law Firm of the Year).

Bonnie Sullivan, the recently retired executive director of the MVLS was given a Special Recognition Award for her years of service to the organization. In addition, the group also recognized Christopher R. Rahl and James Wiggins as 20-Year Award winners and Stanley Alpert, Alan Bloom, Gary L. Compton, MVLS Board of Directors President Lawrence D. Coppel, Kenneth Davies, Jason Morton and Thomas Mulinazzi with 10-Year Awards.

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