This month, Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyer Project (VLP) and the Nassau County Bar Association wish to honor an attorney who repeatedly steps forward to assist some of our most distressed clients to obtain a fresh start in bankruptcy. Scott R. Schneider is a veteran pro bono attorney with the VLP. He has consistently provided VLP clients with Chapter 7 bankruptcy assistance since 1994. Over the past decade, Schneider has helped over 120 indigent Nassau County residents discharge their debts. In 2016, he donated over 83 hours of his time to help relieve the oppressive financial burden on these clients.
Schneider is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Long Island University-Post, where he majored in accounting, and a 1990 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law. He is admitted in both New York and New Jersey. Prior to opening his solo bankruptcy practice in 2000, Schneider was associated with the firm of Fischoff and Gelberg. There he honed his skills in bankruptcy practice under the mentorship of Stuart Gelberg and Gary Fischoff, two notable veteran VLP pro bono attorneys. Today, Schneider relishes the opportunity to handle complex bankruptcy matters, helping clients get out from beneath their debts, save their homes from foreclosure, and better manage their finances in the future.
What sets Schneider apart from many other attorneys is not only the time he donates, but his willingness to help clients who have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn. Occasionally, a VLP client has an emotional or physical disability which requires a great deal of extra effort and patience. Schneider readily accepts their referral. Recently, an elderly client with early onset dementia came to the VLP under tremendous stress after being badgered by creditors. While she was competent to make decisions, her papers were disorganized and she required increased emotional support. Schneider did not hesitate to represent this challenging client, scheduling a few extra minutes for her initial consultation.
“These individuals are among the most vulnerable in our society,” states Schneider. “Debt collectors’ constant harassment tactics cause a huge psychological burden on them. They are precisely the ones who need my assistance the most to achieve peace of mind.”
Schneider feels that all attorneys should contribute in a tangible way to their community. He recommends taking on at least one pro bono matter in order to gain an appreciation of how critically clients need help, and to experience firsthand how rewarding it can be to provide that assistance.
“Sometimes, I get paid in hugs, other times it’s seeing the expression of enormous relief on the client’s face when they are told they have a clean slate. Once, a client painted a lovely picture for me, which I hung in my office. Every time I pass that painting, I know I did the right thing by taking the time to help that client.”
“Scott Schneider is a tremendous asset to our team of pro bono bankruptcy attorneys,” states Susan Biller, Pro Bono Coordinator for Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyers Project. “I know that we can always rely on him to assist our most challenging clients, and to do so with patience and respect. We are very grateful for his career-long support.”
Providing pro bono services is just one of many ways Schneider is involved in volunteer work. He has coached soccer for over twenty-five years, has been an Assistant Scout Master for the Boy Scouts, the Vice President of the Parents Club at Chaminade High School, treasurer for the Hicksville Gregory Museum, and an officer of the Knights of Columbus, where he helps raise money for various charities. He regularly participates in community fundraising events, such as Bike MS, a 30-mile cycling ride to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. When not volunteering in the community, he enjoys spending time skiing and attending sporting events with his wife and three sons.
In recognition of his dedication to Nassau County’s neediest citizens, The Volunteer Lawyers Project, along with the Nassau County Bar Association, are pleased to honor Scott R. Schneider as our latest Pro Bono Attorney of the Month.