Faculty Member Receives 2009 Adams Pro Bono Publico Award
LONGMEADOW, Mass.— In recognition of outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for underserved populations in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services presented the eighth annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to three recipients, including Justin H. Dion, JD, assistant professor of law at Bay Path College. Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina presented the awards to the honorees in front of their colleagues and family members at a ceremony in the John Adams Courthouse on October 28, 2009.
“This year’s pro bono award recipients have realized the role of public citizen idealized by the rules of professional conduct in its call to arms for equal justice under law. Their hard work, enormous sacrifice, and ingenuity have brought hope to many who are burdened by poverty or near poverty. Their dedication is an inspiration and a challenge to all who are able and committed to provide harbor for those among us made vulnerable by the deep reach of the economic downturn,” stated Justice Spina.
Attorney Dion, a Longmeadow resident, was presented the coveted award for his efforts to assist underserved populations in western Massachusetts during the current economic downturn. He is honored for his pro bono and leadership contributions to the Alliance Providers of Legal Services to Individuals Facing Foreclosure, among others.
The Massachusetts Justice Project, the Hampden County Bar Association, the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, and the Housing Assistance Project were instrumental in forming the Alliance two years ago. Through his efforts, the Hampden County Bar Association joined the Alliance as a formal partner. He has worked tirelessly to recruit, train and mentor attorneys working on the pro bono foreclosure panel, the Volunteer Lawyers Service of the Massachusetts Justice Project, the Dial-A-Lawyer foreclosure evenings and the attorney training programs sponsored by the Alliance. He has participated in all Dial-A-Lawyer events and serves as an advisor to Housing Assistance Project foreclosure prevention counselors. Dion also helped to establish the Hampden County Bar Bankruptcy Section. He also handles bankruptcy cases for the Volunteer Lawyer Services and leads Pro Se Bankruptcy Clinics for the Bankruptcy Court. Dion is an associate professor of legal studies at Bay Path College. He teaches various law courses, including classes related to bankruptcy, real estate, business, and legal issues, among other topics.
“We are elated that Justin was selected for this significant honor,” said John Woodruff, JD, chair of the legal studies department. “He serves as a remarkable example to our students through his tireless and extensive work providing valuable legal assistance and information to financially distressed people facing foreclosure or bankruptcy and for his contributions to public education about how to face and survive the current economic crisis. Justin Dion reminds all of us what the use of the law in the public interest is all about.”
Dion is a member of the Hampden County Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, Hartford County Bar Association, Connecticut Bar Association, and American Bar Association. He received his juris doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from Western New England College School of Law, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Southern Connecticut State University.
In addition to Dion, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services presented Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to Attorney Andrew P. Cornell, a solo practitioner in Cambridge, Attorney Margaret M. Pinkham, a former partner in the Boston firm of Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP.