The Suffolk Pro Bono Project is very pleased to honor Robin Guttman as its Pro Bono Attorney of the Month. Ms. Guttman has been a dedicated, effective advocate on behalf the Project’s pro bono clients since 2008. Over the past few years, Ms. Guttman has accepted multiple cases from the Pro Bono Project. “She has been an invaluable asset to the Suffolk Pro Bono Project, due to her high level of expertise and her commitment to her pro bono clients,” says the Project’s Coordinator, Ellen Krakow. Her recent, outstanding work has earned her this distinction.
In her most recent matter, Ms. Guttman provided critical legal assistance to a defendant in a divorce proceeding, who was being emotionally and financially tormented by her husband, the monied spouse. After filing for divorce, the client’s husband refused to provide any kind of financial support for the client or their two children, and refused to move out. He also refused to pay any of their debts, including their home mortgage. Adding to the crisis, the husband was emotionally tormenting his family, including her client’s emotionally fragile oldest child. During the pendency of the action, Ms. Guttman obtained substantial spousal maintenance for her client via wage garnishment. The case settled under very favorable terms for her client, with the client obtaining child support, spousal maintenance, the husband’s removal from the marital residence, and sole title to the residence.
Ms. Guttman traces her commitment to pro bono service back to her years as a law student at Antioch School of Law, which she says stressed assisting the under-served. It was through a law school classmate that Ms. Guttman met her husband and future law practice partner, Bruce Guttman. In 1990, Robin and her husband formed The Guttman Law Group in Melville, New York. The firm’s sole concentration is matrimonial law. Ms. Guttman’s sub-specialty is matrimonial appeals. In addition to establishing a vibrant law practice, the Guttmans created a large family of five children and five grandchildren.
Ms. Guttman truly enjoys her legal practice. “The matrimonial bar is a great group of people,”says Guttman. She adds, “Every case is different and challenging.” What Ms. Guttman considers “most rewarding” about her work is the opportunity it provides to make a large, positive impact on people’s lives.
For four years, between college and law school, Ms. Guttman lived in Israel. She remains fluent in Hebrew. In addition to her pro bono work, Ms. Guttman volunteers at the Chai Center in Dix Hills, where she teaches Hebrew to adults.
In light of the great work she has done and her continued enthusiasm for the work of the project, we are very pleased to recognize Robin Guttman as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month.
The Suffolk Pro Bono Project is a joint effort of Nassau Suffolk Law Services, the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Pro Bono Foundation, who, for many years, have joined resources toward the goal of providing free legal assistance to Suffolk County residents who are dealing with economic hardship. Nassau Suffolk Law Services is a non profit civil legal services agency funded primarily by the Legal Services Corporation 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 resident. 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 Ellen Krakow, Esq. 631 232-2400 x 3323.