NYLAG’s Pro Bono project recently won a victory in a Family Court case for an elderly FLU client.

The pro bono lawyers were Veronica Wissel and Fraser Hartley, associates at the international corporate law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. They were supervised by partner Douglas Bartner and mentored by FLU attorney Kira Schettino.

Ms. Wissel and Mr. Hartley assisted Mr. M, an 86-year-old man who had been ordered to pay alimony after his divorce in 1967, and who could no longer afford to make the payments. Mr. M had been retired for many years, and he hoped to leave his remaining savings to his second wife, to whom he had been married for 20 years.

Ms. Wissel and Mr. Hartley successfully petitioned for Mr. M’s alimony order to be vacated, creating significant financial relief for Mr. M and his wife. While both had some litigation experience, neither Ms. Wissel nor Mr. Hartley had prior experience with the Family Court.

The best part of the experience, both agreed, was working with Mr. M. “It was a pleasure […] The client was incredibly appreciative. It was all in all a very good experience,” said Ms. Wissel. Mr. Hartley explained, “As an associate you don’t always get to work one-on-one with a client. [Mr. M] was really great. I definitely enjoyed working with him […] and we were glad to help him.”

Both lawyers agreed that partnering with NYLAG had made their pro bono experience easier and more enjoyable. “It was wonderful to have Kira [Schettino, staff attorney] and FLU there as a resource,” Veronica said. “Kira was always easily accessible […] but she let us handle the case as we saw fit,” added Fraser.