Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) and the Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA) are proud to honor Heath S. Berger, Esq. as our most recent Pro Bono Attorney of the Month. In the past year, he has donated nearly fifty hours assisting twenty-two low income clients obtain a new financial start by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions on their behalf. His long standing commitment to pro bono is truly impressive. Over the last decade, he has represented hundreds of debtors and volunteered over five hundred thirty hours helping VLP clients.
Mr. Berger is a member of Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, a full-service Long Island Law firm located in Syosset. They handle a wide range of bankruptcy, matrimonial and family law matters, real estate transactions, education cases, complex transactional matters and general litigation. The entire firm holds a deep commitment to dedicating a significant portion of their time and resources to pro bono work, which truly benefits the community. They have been honored for the past four years as a Top Law Firm Pro Bono Provider by the NCBA Access to Justice Committee at the Access to Justice Reception.
Mr. Berger’s bankruptcy practice ranges from the simplest chapter 7 and 13 filings to highly litigated matters representing both debtors and creditors. To date, Mr. Berger has filed over ten thousand bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients and has helped countless people save their homes and businesses, discharging millions of dollars of debt. In addition, Mr. Berger has lectured at various events to educate both attorneys and debtors in the area of bankruptcy law.
Born and raised on Long Island, Heath Berger has always had a deep connection to this community. It was only natural that he returned to start a practice after completing his higher education upstate. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton in 1989 and his Juris Doctor Degree from Albany Law School of Union University in 1992. Mr. Berger is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Western and Eastern Districts of New York, and the State of New York. He is a long-standing member of the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations.
Since joining the VLP panel of bankruptcy attorneys over 15 years ago, Mr. Berger has consistently accepted several Chapter 7 referrals after each bi-monthly bankruptcy clinic. These VLP clinics are detailed screenings held at the Bar Association and staffed by experienced volunteer bankruptcy attorneys. Clients whose cases are appropriate for a Chapter 7 filing are then referred by the VLP to bankruptcy attorneys who handle the petition from start to finish. Mr. Berger has been previously recognized as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month in 2006 and 2011 for this dedicated work.
It is a powerful feeling to have a hand in assisting another human being to set their life back on track. “I feel so fortunate that I am in the position to be able to help alleviate the tremendous burden many of our low income and disabled clients face. Assisting them to gain a fresh start and peace of mind is incredibly rewarding, “reflects Mr. Berger.
He recalls helping one young adult client do just that after overcoming substance abuse and serving time in jail. After a discharge of his debts in bankruptcy, the client was relieved of the tremendous burden of debt, and was able to secure a job and get a fresh start in life. One of Mr. Berger’s other pro bono clients sends Christmas cookies to his entire staff each year, thanking them for their team effort throughout every step of the process.
“We are truly thankful for Heath Berger’s dedication to the VLP,” states Susan Biller, Pro Bono Coordinator for the Project. “For years, we have consistently counted on him to represent our clients in need, and he does so with compassion and respect.”
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Berger enjoys playing golf and tennis, as well as spending time with his wife and two college aged children. In recognition of his long-standing commitment to Nassau County’s neediest citizens, The Volunteer Lawyers Project, along with the Nassau County Bar Association, are pleased to honor Heath S. Berger, Esq. 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.
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