Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), along with the Nassau County Bar Association, are privileged to recognize Michael L. Pfeifer as our most recent Attorney of the Month. Mr. Pfeifer is the principal of Pfeifer Law, PLLC. His practice has concentrated in the areas of elder law, special needs planning and estate planning for over 25 years. This month's award honors an attorney who has demonstrated great passion and dedication by providing direct pro bono legal services to the community through his volunteer work with the VLP and the Seniors Unit of Nassau Suffolk Law Services.
Since he first volunteered in 1987, Mr. Pfeifer has represented dozens of clients in Article 17A guardianships as well as wills, trusts and estate planning matters. Most recently, he has offered his pro bono services to the VLP and Senior’s Unit to help initiate the new Advance Directives Pilot Project. This initiative provides low income, disabled and senior clients with pro bono assistance to execute wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies. These crucial services empower vulnerable individuals with the ability to choose who will make decisions for them, and often avoids the necessity of a costly guardianship proceeding down the road. Most importantly, advance directives give these challenged clients the dignity of self -determination and peace of mind.
Since our launch of this new pilot program last month, several attorneys have already generously offered to join the pro bono panel. Mr. Pfeifer screens income eligible clients to determine their planning needs, and serves as an expert consultant and mentor. Clients are then referred to volunteer attorneys for representation. All interested attorneys are welcomed. Attorneys wishing to develop skills in this area will be assigned an experienced mentor and offered training materials. As always, we cover professional liability, offer free CLE credit and recognition at our yearly reception.
In his younger days, Mr. Pfeifer was inspired to pursue higher education after serving for four years in the US Air Force stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. After graduating from SUNY Stony Brook in 1978 and Pace University School of Law in 1986, he was admitted to the New York State Bar and the US Eastern District. He is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, and is a former Co-Chair of the NCBA Elder Law Committee.
Mr. Pfeifer’s first professional exposure to public interest law was during a law school internship at Nassau Suffolk Law Services. During this time, he showed tremendous dedication and compassion toward the many clients he served. Throughout the years of private practice that followed, Mr. Pfeifer has been committed to donating a significant amount of his time toward the underserved. His mild mannered, soft spoken approach is comforting to his clients, and belies his fierce determination to advocating on their behalf. He has assisted not only in direct representation on elder law and guardianship matters, but has mentored many young attorneys who went on to become experts in these areas of law.
Mr. Pfeifer urges other attorneys to join him in his mission. “It is immensely gratifying that my legal work can give comfort, peace of mind and dignity to this population of clients. Empowering someone to direct their own affairs can be transformative. On a strictly practical level, providing legal services to a low income client can mean the difference between their ability to pay next month’s rent or putting food on the table.”
Susan Biller, Pro Bono Coordinator of the Volunteer Lawyer's Project, states: "We are grateful to Michael for his patience and perseverance. He recognized a need in the community, and took it upon himself to offer his services to the VLP to address that need. His willingness to mentor newer attorneys allows us to grow our program of volunteer attorneys and thus help many more clients."
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 Michael L. Pfeifer as our latest Pro Bono Attorney of the Month.
The Volunteer Lawyers Project is a joint effort of Nassau Suffolk Law Services and the Nassau County Bar Association, who, for many years, have joined resources toward the goal of providing free legal assistance to Nassau County residents who are dealing with economic hardship. Nassau Suffolk Law Services is a non profit civil legal services agency, receiving federal, state and local funding to provide free legal assistance to Long Islanders, primarily in the areas of benefits advocacy, homelessness prevention (foreclosure and eviction defense), access to health care, and services to special populations such as domestic violence victims, disabled, and adult home residents. The provision of free services is prioritized based on financial need and funding is often inadequate in these areas. Furthermore, there is no funding for the general provision of matrimonial or bankruptcy representation, therefore the demand for pro bono assistance is the greatest in these areas. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Susan Biller, Esq. 516-292-8100, ext. 3136.