Articles & News 2013

Danna Rich Collins and Bret SouthardBret Southard Recognized
for Pro Bono Work

The 2012 Honorable Thomas Wood. Jr., Equal Access to Justice Award was presented to Lycoming County Attorney Bret Southard.  Danna Rich-Collins, of the Williamsport Legal Services office, explained the reasons for the award:

Tonight’s recipient of the Thomas Wood, Jr. Award has been a perennial Fair Share awardee. He was a member of the Protection from Abuse Panel for several years, and for at least 7 of those years he handled twice the number of “mandated cases," that is at least 6.

A few years back he decided to move from the PFA panel and started taking other civil referrals . He took law suit defense matters, replevin and debt collection matters. These cases, as you can imagine, were not run of the mill and involved somewhat protracted litigation. However, the sometimes egregiousness of the claims seemed to spur him on and he would usually remind us to “send him more of these type of cases"—if need be.

This past year when NPLS reeled from a funding crisis that resulted in massive layoffs, he called and said, “What can I do?—How can I help? Please call me as needed.

This past year he agreed to rotate on the Abuse panel (temporarily) taking again more than the three case maximum just in PFA cases, while continuing to take defense cases. In addition to taking referrals and offering any help needed he “is on the lookout” for issues within his own practice that might impact our clients, and looks to alert us or to refer to us when he spots an issue.

He handles the cases aggressively and he has a heart for seeing that justice is served. He assures that our clients, who are often targets of predatory practices, have access to equal justice before the courts. On behalf of the Law Association, NPLS and the client community we thank you for your service.

This year's recipient of the The Honorable Thomas Wood, Jr. Equal Access to Justice award is Bret J. Southard.