PWJC Volunteer Attorney Receives NYSBA’s 2022 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award

February 2, 2022
Emilia Rodriguez

Emilia Rodriguez, a volunteer attorney for Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC), was awarded the Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). The award recognizes the dedication of senior attorneys who generously use their legal knowledge and experience to provide pro bono assistance in New York to underserved members of the community. 

Ms. Rodriguez was selected for this award from a highly competitive pool of nominees from across the state.  This year she celebrates 13 years as a PWJC volunteer attorney across three programs:  Legal Helpline, Family Court Legal Program and Walk-In Legal Clinic. Prior to volunteering with PWJC, “I had no experience in representing survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence. The Pace Women’s Justice Center provided me with training, support and mentoring, which enabled me to meet the legal needs of clients” through their programs, states Ms. Rodriguez.

From giving legal information and resources to providing limited scope representation on family matters, or representing clients in court who need Orders of Protection, Emilia helped over 130 clients in 2021.  Known at PWJC as a compassionate and empathetic bilingual attorney who is client-focused, culturally-sensitive and trauma-informed, Emilia helps clients navigate through very complex legal and emotional issues. “The impact she has had on our clients’ ability to live the next chapter of their life in safety is immeasurable,” states Natalie J. Sobchak, PWJC Director of Pro Bono Programs.

The NYSBA award is named in honor of former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, an inspiring judicial leader who has zealously championed the cause of access to justice and has encouraged and supported the unique contributions of senior attorneys to the pro bono mission. PWJC celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022, of providing free civil legal services to victims of abuse and sexual assault opportunities and resources to empower themselves and begin their journey away from abuse and towards healing.

The Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC) is a self-funded nonprofit legal center located at Elisabeth Haub School of Law, under the 501(c)(3) status of Pace University. Each year, PWJC provides free legal services to over 3,500 victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse, as well as conducts or participates in over 140 training and outreach events. Serving Westchester and Putnam Counties, PWJC’s mission is to pursue justice for victims and prevent abuse through quality legal services, community partnerships, education, and awareness. With an experienced staff and a team of dedicated volunteers, including attorneys, other professionals, and students, PWJC has built an effective, coordinated community response to interpersonal violence.  (For more information

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