Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) and the Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA) are privileged to honor Craig D. Robins, Esq. as our Pro Bono Attorney of the Month. Mr. Robins, one of the founders of the VLP Bankruptcy Project, is a passionate and dedicated volunteer. This past year, he has donated over 70 hours assisting 18 low income clients obtain a fresh start by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy actions. Even more impressive is that over the last 10 years, he has represented 157 debtors and volunteered nearly 650 hours helping clients of the VLP. Mr. Robins recalls his first involvement with this initiative in the late nineteen eighties, when he and fellow VLP bankruptcy attorneys spearheaded the Bankruptcy Project in Nassau County. Since that time, he has consistently accepted several Chapter 7 referrals after each bi-monthly bankruptcy clinic. These VLP clinics are screenings held at the Bar Association and staffed by experienced volunteer bankruptcy attorneys. He is very proud to be part of the bankruptcy bar, a tightly-knit group of attorneys which fosters a sense of responsibility and commitment to pro bono. Mr. Robins’ commitment has been so great over the past thirty years of practice that we have seen fit to honor him with this monthly award on two previous occasions. He was also named NCBA Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in April 2010.
Initially, Mr. Robins took his first few pro bono bankruptcy cases to gain greater experience in the field. “I found I derived a tremendous sense of fulfilment from helping these vulnerable individuals,” he recalls. “Assisting them to gain a fresh start and peace of mind is incredibly rewarding. “ From that point on, Mr. Robins was committed to building and sustaining a pro bono bankruptcy caseload in addition to his regular practice. He feels honored to have been able to make a tremendous difference in the lives of so many people over the years. “Every model practice should have room for pro bono representation,” he states. “We need to be an example to the next generation.” Mr. Robins received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University in 1981, and received a Juris Doctorate from Western New England Law School in 1984. He was admitted to the Massachusetts and New York Bars in 1985 and the Florida Bar in 1987. He is also admitted to practice in various Federal District Courts, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Claims Court. Mr. Robins has been practicing on Long Island for most of his career and has devoted his practice almost exclusively to bankruptcy and debt-related matters such as foreclosure defense. He has represented both consumers in Chapter 7 and 13 cases, and businesses in Chapter 11 cases. A frequent contributor to the Nassau Lawyer, Mr. Robins has written extensively on procedure, legislation, and practice, as well as the interaction of bankruptcy law on personal injury cases and matrimonial rights. Since 1991, he has made numerous presentations on bankruptcy law to attorneys and judges through the Theodore Roosevelt Chapter of the American Inns of Court, of which he is an executive board member. Mr. Robins is active in the Bankruptcy Committees of both the Nassau and Suffolk Bar Associations, where he frequently lectures and assists the public at Open Houses. He is a
long-time member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. One of Mr. Robins’ most memorable pro bono matters involved mother and daughter clients. The daughter had suffered brain damage as a result of a choking episode while eating, and was ultimately rendered a quadriplegic. Prior to the accident, she and her mother had been active working individuals. Now the daughter was unable to return to work and could not pay her extensive medical debts. Her mother, likewise, had to cease working in order to care for her daughter. She, too, fell behind on her debts. Mr. Robins took on the Chapter 7 filings pro bono. Both grateful clients were relieved of their oppressive financial burden, and could focus their energy on recovery. Susan Biller, Pro Bono Coordinator of the VLP states: “Craig Robins is a rare attorney whose compassion and commitment to pro bono work serves as an inspiration for all attorneys. He was a visionary founder of our Bankruptcy Project years ago, and remains one of its most dedicated participants. We are so grateful for his work.” In addition to practicing law, Mr. Robins enjoys competitive bicycle racing, and is an avid photographer. He enjoys spending time with his wife and his son, Max, who plans to one day become an attorney as well. In recognition of his career long commitment to Nassau County’s neediest citizens, The Volunteer Lawyers Project, along with the Nassau County Bar Association, are pleased to honor Craig D. Robins 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.