Attorney honored by State Bar Association
Matthew B. Herdzik of West Seneca has been honored with the New York State Bar Association’s 2013 President’s Pro Bono Service Award for his volunteer legal work with the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Herdzik, a solo practitioner, was one of 20 attorneys statewide to receive the award at a luncheon held in May at the State Bar Center in Albany.
A 20-year volunteer with the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Herdzik performed more than 120 hours of pro bono work in 2012 on a variety of cases, including divorces, bankruptcies and tax matters. Often, when low-income clients arrive at his private practice and attempt to hire him, Herdzik refers them to VLP so he can represent them pro bono. Since 1993, he has closed 115 pro bono cases and donated nearly 1,200 hours of service. To be eligible for one of the awards, an attorney must be admitted to practice in New York State and must have rendered his or her pro bono service or participated in a pro bono program within the state.
“Every year, millions of New Yorkers are forced to navigate the civil justice system without legal representation. We are so pleased to recognize the attorneys whose pro bono efforts assisted low-income individuals with consumer debt, foreclosure, divorce, end-of-life decisions, government benefits, storm-related issues and other legal matters,” said State Bar President Seymour W. James Jr. “It is our privilege to honor those who make access to justice a reality.”
Herdzik was “honored and humbled” by the recognition and had no idea it was coming. He grew up in the City of Buffalo and attended the University at Buffalo for his undergraduate work and Ohio Northern University Law School.
He was drawn to the legal profession from a young age.
“My father told me that lawyers help people,” he said.
He considers his pro bono work as helping people who need the help.
“The clients I’ve represented through VLP have been good clients, and I’ve helped them work through some difficult times,” he said.
Herdzik’s office is located at 3700 Seneca St.
(Story ideas for this feature can be sent to West Seneca Bee Editor Paul Olczak, Bee Publications, 5564 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14221 or call 204-4922.)