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Volunteer Lawyers Project celebrates 25 years, honors two attorneys

December 2, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna (left) presents board members from the Volunteer Lawyers Project with a citation on behalf of the Borough President's Office to celebrate VLP’s 25th anniversary. Reyna is pictured with (starting second from left) VLP Executive Director Heidi Henderson, President James P. Slattery, Lynn Judell and Terri Letica. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

The Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) celebrated its 25th anniversary and honored a pair of lawyers during its annual Volunteer Recognition Event at Borough Hall on Tuesday.

“As you know, the Volunteers Lawyers Project could not exist without our volunteers — it’s in our name,” said Heidi Henderson, executive director of VLP. “They give up their time, their expertise and their passion to the VLP. Brooklyn residents who cannot afford to hire attorneys and face legal challenges … that would be insurmountable without our volunteers.”

The VLP chose Lawrence F. DiGiovanna and Anna Yasova as its honorees. DiGiovanna, a board member for 16 years, was chosen for his long history of service with the organization. Yasova is a relative newcomer to the group, but was recognized because her contributions in her short time have gone above and beyond.

“Anna is a very special person,” said James P. Slattery, president of VLP. “She is a 2014 graduate of New York Law School. She came to us to fulfill her obligation for pro bono services, but almost from the inception she did what most would not do and really took us under her wing as much as we took her under our wing. She went far beyond the hours that she had to put in and is still a mainstay at our office.”

DiGiovanna, who is VLP’s vice president, wasn’t on hand to accept his award, but that didn’t stop the many in attendance from praising his efforts over the years.

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“In this special year, we have a very special honoree,” said Terri Letica. “He has played a key role in the VLP’s success. Despite running a busy practice and being involved in other charitable and community organizations, he has worked tirelessly for the VLP and served us in multiple capacities for the last 16 years.”

As it was also a celebration of 25 years of VLP, and since it was in Borough Hall, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna was on hand to present a citation to the group on behalf of the Borough President’s Office. When she presented the citation, she described how she has always relied upon the VLP to help assist her constituents.

“As a legislative intern, I would make sure I had the VLP’s number on my speed-dial,” Reyna said. “That Volunteer Lawyers Project card was right in the front of my rolodex, if anyone remembers those. It was a number I would always depend on even in my days as a councilmember. You help to give the confidence to people that they could have a victory at the end of their turbulent journey. You gave them hope that they depend on to understand that they will persevere.”

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