Making A DifferenceDecember 22, 2014 – In The News
Sandra A. Romaszewski was featured in Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Pennsylvania Bar News article, “Making A Difference.” Full text can be found in the December 22, 2014, issue, but a synopsis is below.
Describe your pro bono work.
Most of my pro bono work involves providing free, basic estate planning documents to emergency first-responders and military veterans in Pennsylvania through the “Wills for Heroes” program, which is co-sponsored by the PBA Young Lawyers Division. The nonprofit Wills for Heroes Foundation was started following the events of 9/11 to address the large number of first-responders who had no estate planning documents in place.
In addition to “Wills for Heroes,” I often provide pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations. This year, I assisted the Latino Leadership Alliance of Bucks County Inc. (LLABC), a Pennsylvania 501©(3) nonprofit corporation that provided information, education, training, career counseling, family services and advocacy to the Latino community in Bucks County, in its merger with and into The Philadelphia Prevention Partnership (PPP).
Why do you participate in pro bono?
As an attorney, I feel responsible for providing pro bono legal services to those who would not otherwise ask or have access. Pro bono is also a way to say thank you to the individuals and organizations that serve and enhance our well-being and our communities. We’ve all head the expression “pay it forward,” and pro bono is one of the best ways for attorneys to do so.
How did you become involved?
My friend and former colleague, Jenni Murphy, told me about the pro bono work she was doing with “Wills for Heroes” and I became very interested in the cause. I started volunteering at events and became Jenni’s co-coordinator in Bucks County.
Have your pro bono cases dealt with legal issues different from your regular practice areas? If so, how did you adapt?
As a corporate transactional attorney, I work on a lot of mergers and acquisitions, but I had never worked on a merger of nonprofits and I wasn’t familiar with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s review process. I consulted with my colleagues and successfully merged LLABC into PPP.
What have been the rewards?
I truly enjoy meeting so many wonderful first responders, veterans and their families, as well as community leaders who make a difference on a daily basis. I get the opportunity to thank them personally for all that they do and for their service to our communities and our country.
I also serve on the boards of several local organizations. One of them is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. I was a member of the Bridesburg Boys & Girls Club growing up in Philadelphia, and it was a place for me to learn and grow into the person and leader I am today.
How does it “make a difference?”
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. My ongoing involvement with the organization helps me pay it forward to our youth and future leaders. Visit your local Boys &Girls Club and talk to the kids or employees: You will hear how much the club makes a difference in their lives.