We are pleased to honor an attorney who has generously stepped out of his regular role to help needy families navigate their way through the most difficult cases. As Executive Vice President of Tishman Construction Corporation, which was acquired by AECOM Technology Services in July 2010, William Motherway is normally engaged with building structures such as 1 World Trade Center.
However, in his work handling matrimonial cases for the Suffolk County Pro Bono Project, he has become involved in the lives of low income families that are breaking apart. Many attorneys consider matrimonial cases to be among the most difficult, yet William Motherway has found the 3-4 hours he devotes weekly to handling such cases to be highly rewarding.
Explaining what attracted him to this calling Mr. Motherway says, “I was a litigator in Florida and I wanted to get back into the courtroom and help people in need.” He observed that, “you get [to work with] people who are at a very low point. Often children are involved, lives are caving in, and you are there for them telling them how long each step will take and what to expect." Contrasting his pro bono service with his corporate work he explains, “The pro bono work is very personal and you can put people’s minds at ease. You would think that divorce cases are always about the money, but what has opened my eyes is that emotions can have more influence on these cases than the money. You can always make more money, but there are no formulas to control people’s emotions. ”
William Motherway holds a B.S. from Manhattan College in Biology and taught High School Chemistry and Biology before earning his J.D. from the University Of Miami School Of Law. His desire to enter the legal field grew out of his experiences working in the litigation group of the Marriot Corporation. Explaining his decision to become a corporate executive he explained, “I love the practice of law if not the business of law”. After surviving the effects of Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 he returned to Long Island so he and his family could avoid future hurricanes. Prior to coming to Tishman Construction in 1994, he served as Risk Manager for the City of New York. Even though he left the field of education for law, his interest in educating people never ended. He served on the Kings Park School Board for six years and he continues to be a valuable source of knowledge for his pro bono clients.
He is also eager to explain that Tishman Construction has been very supportive, and even encourages the time that he devotes to his work with the Pro Bono Project. His volunteer experience has also helped him to demonstrate the importance of community service to his own children. “Many attorneys are lucky to make a decent living. A lot of people haven’t had the opportunities we have. This has helped me to explain to my children that there are less fortunate people living within our community and to appreciate the opportunities they are given and the value of helping out others in need.”
William has been married for 25 years to his wife Victoria. Together they have raised three daughters, Jamie (24), Tory (23), Erin (19) and one son, Billy (21). In addition to his achievements in the corporate and legal arenas, William has also competed in triathlons for the past 20 years, although he says he has become more serious about this over the last two years.
He encourages other attorneys to become involved with pro bono stating, “So many people out there need our help. It doesn’t take much time and it is well worth the time you spend on it.” For devoting his time over the past years using his valuable legal knowledge and courtroom experience to those who otherwise would not be able to afford legal counsel, it is our privilege to honor William Motherway as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month.
The Suffolk County Pro Bono Project is a joint venture of the Suffolk County Bar Association and Nassau Suffolk Law Services. Pro bono attorneys are greatly needed, especially in the areas of: matrimonial and family law, bankruptcy, guardianships (17A), foreclosure, and consumer cases. To volunteer, please call 631 232-2400 x 3369.
Nancy Zukowski is a volunteer paralegal at Nassau Suffolk Law Services with a paralegal certificate from Suffolk Community College. Ms. Zukowski is also a freelance writer and has extensive professional experience in health insurance claims and health care advocacy and has also interned at Nassau Suffolk Law Services, Queens Housing Court, and at private law offices in Suffolk. She is also a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants.