NYLAG Associate Board Co-Chair, Valerie Tocci; Master of Ceremonies & Associate Board member, Monte Albers de Leon; actor and guest speaker, Emily Bergl; Associate Board member Janice Kubow; Associate Board member Jeremy Turk

NYLAG’s Matrimonial and Family Law Unit (FLU) held a successful fundraiser on June 18, 2012. The event celebrated FLU’s achievements on behalf of domestic violence victims and also recognized the work of the LGBT Law Project, a division of FLU, by commemorating the one-year anniversary of New York State’s passage of marriage equality. FLU provides direct legal services, advocacy and outreach to empower marginalized populations, prioritizing domestic violence victims and low-income LGBT individuals. The goal is to help these people overcome their unique barriers to safety and security.

Entitled “It’s A Family Affair,” the event was hosted by NYLAG’s Associate Board in the beautiful garden and penthouse of the Park Restaurant in NYC’s trendy Meatpacking District. Over 150 attendees came to show their support, including many attorneys from the City’s major law firms, young professionals, and representatives from the nonprofit legal services community.

The program included remarks from Associate Board member and Master of Ceremonies, Monte Albers de Leon; New York City Councilmember Dan Garodnick; Family Law Director Kim Susser; and Broadway and television star, Emily Bergl, who is best known for her roles on Desperate Housewives and Men in Trees. In her speech, Bergl related how her own childhood experience as an undocumented immigrant heightened her appreciation for the importance of civil legal services, particularly for those who cannot afford lawyers. A longtime activist for low-income families, she drew parallels between her experiences building physical homes for the homeless, and the importance of NYLAG’s work to protect families from domestic violence, as both services provide essential safety and stability for parents and their children.

“Fight for Justice” Awardee Hannah Pennington; Monte Albers de Leon; NYLAG Matrimonial & Family Law Director, Kim Susser; NYLAG Matrimonial & Family Law Associate Director, Lisa Rivera

Susser presented the 2012 “Fight for Justice Award” to Hannah Pennington, a 1999 alumna of NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Clinical Center (DVCC). Pennington’s experience in the DVCC set the foundation for the rest of her career as a prominent advocate for victims of domestic violence. Susser described Pennington as “passionate and effective” during her time in the NYLAG Clinic, qualities that continue to serve her well in her current position as Director of Sanctuary for Families’ Bronx Legal Project at the Bronx Family Justice Center. In this role, Pennington leads a team of lawyers and volunteers who provide victims with vital information and a wide range of legal services. As she presented the well-deserved award, Susser remarked, “There is nothing that makes me prouder than to see a former student be as successful as Hannah is now.”

Featuring a silent auction of luxury items, the evening succeeded in raising over $40,000 and served as a testament to the strength of NYLAG’s mission to provide high-quality, free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers.

Music at the event was provided by DJ Patafunk and the cocktail hour was sponsored by 42Below Vodka and Brooklyn Brewery. For more photos, please click here.