Nassau Suffolk Law Services and The Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) are proud to acknowledge Lewis C. Edelstein as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for June 2013. This is not a “first” for Mr. Edelstein. He has been recognized previously for his generous contribution of time on many levels. His involvement in pro bono extends throughout Long Island, and in addition to previous honors bestowed in Nassau County by VLP, including Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, he has also been honored as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month by the Suffolk County Pro Bono Project. But the well deserved honors do not stop there. His pro bono participation is so noteworthy that in 2007, five organizations joined together to support Edelstein’s nomination for the New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for the Tenth Judicial District.
Lewis Edelstein’s pro bono service primarily extends to divorces where the need is greatest. There is only one funded program on Long Island to provide free attorneys in these Supreme Court matters, (the Nassau Coalition Against Domestic Violence), therefore the demand is great for pro bono attorneys in this area. Despite VLP’s careful screening of matrimonial cases to determine which are appropriate for pro bono representation, these matters can be demanding. Edelstein has had his share of challenging cases. Accounting for his extraordinary commitment to serving the indigent, Edelstein commented, There are efficient ways to handle a matrimonial case where the parties are w-2 wage earners. Equitable distribution is relatively uncomplicated. The area of most intense conflict is custodial arrangements and visitation. Attending to children’s needs is always paramount. Distressed children become distressed adults, who may require more intensive judicial attention later on.
Following graduation from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Edelstein entered St. John’s University School of Law, receiving his law degree in 1973. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1974 and subsequently to the United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. Lewis Edelstein is a sole practitioner with offices in Garden City. He started practicing in 1975 in his father’s law firm, Edelstein & Coleman. Under the tutelage of his father and Charles Coleman, the elder Edelstein’s partner, Edelstein learned early on how to handle every variety of litigation involving family issues, both in the Family Court and Supreme Court. He is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Bar Association and is on the Matrimonial and Family Law Committee, the Family Court Sub-committee, and the Child Custody Sub-Committee. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, Family Law Section, and the Legislative Sub-Committee.
When asked why attorneys should do pro bono work, in addition to the human factors he mentions above, Edelstein observes, “When there are pro se litigants in matrimonial cases they’re more time-consuming and burdensome for the matrimonial calendar and last for a disproportionate amount of time. In essence, it helps everyone in the matrimonial bar for volunteer attorneys to take up these cases.
Susan Biller, Law Services’ VLP staff attorney, enthusiastically compliments Edelstein’s participation. “He can always be counted on to help out when we need him. We are so fortunate to have an attorney with his experience and generosity participating in the pro bono effort.”
Nassau Suffolk Law Services and The Volunteer Lawyers Project are grateful for Lewis C. Edelstein’s consistent and dedicated participation and are delighted to honor him as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month.
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