Harvey Savitt has been a hard-working member of the Suffolk County Pro Bono Project (PBP) since 1992. Currently, Harvey primarily handles pro bono divorces for the PBP, but he also provides assistance on guardianship and child support cases when needed.
Savitt opened his own practice in 1980 and has been a partner in the firm of Savitt & Krantz, P.C., since 2003. Over the years, he has taken on many complicated matrimonial cases for the PBP. One case involved a spouse who had left the state. There was extensive motion practice on the issue of substitute service and to compel the Department of Social Services to produce records relating to the spouse’s whereabouts. Savitt wound up hiring both an investigator and a private process service. His persistence paid off. After logging 66 pro bono hours over the course of several years, he was ultimately successful in obtaining a divorce for our very grateful client.
Savitt has never been one to turn away difficult cases, representing both veterans and domestic violence victims. Savitt also took a case that his Rabbi referred to him. This case is a perfect example of what we refer to as a “reverse referral.” A reverse referral is a case where a pro bono attorney meets a person who needs legal assistance but cannot afford to pay. This person can be referred to the PBP and, after financial eligibility is determined, the case will be certified as a pro bono case to track Suffolk County’s pro bono statistics and to grant CLE credit to the attorney. In Savitt’s case, after our thorough screening process was conducted, PBP deter-mined that this member of Savitt’s synagogue was eligible for our services. Harvey represent-ed this client in both a custody trial and motion practice relating to an upward modification of child support. Though Harvey was not paid for his hours of work, he did receive both CLE credit and a voucher for a CLE course from the Suffolk County Bar Association. The Suffolk County legal community also gets credit for its pro bono contributions as these statistics are formally included in NSLS’ reports to the NYS Office of Court Administration, the IOLA fund and the Legal Services Corporation.
Savitt’s heroic pro bono work extends beyond the PBP as well. For example, he has also worked with Trial Lawyers Care, which provided pro bono representation to 9/11 victims. In one personal injury case, his client had been injured carrying someone out of the World Trade Center. When compensation was denied, Harvey appealed to the special master of the federal September 11th Compensation Fund. Within a week and a half of the denial, the decision was reversed and his client received over $400,000.
The Suffolk Pro Bono Project and Nassau’s Volunteer Lawyers Project work in cooperation with our local bar associations toward the goal of providing free legal assistance to Long Island residents who are dealing with severe economic hardship.
If you would like to volunteer, please contact:
Carolyn McQuade, Esq. at 631 232-2400,
Susan Biller, Esq. at 516 292-8299, or
Roberta Scoll, Esq. 516 292-8100
(Landlord/tenant Attorney of the Day Project).
Read more about our other Pro Bono Champions on our website.