Knecht Wins Award Named for Judge Wood

Posted on January 21st, 2009 at 12:00 AM
Knecht Wins Award Named for Judge Wood

The inaugural Honorable Thomas Wood Jr, Equal Access to Justice Award was presented to Lycoming County lawyer William Knecht at the Lycoming Law Association's 2009 annual banquet. Danna Rich-Collins, of the Williamsport Legal Services office, commented on the decision to rename the award in memory of Judge Wood, and also on the stand-out work of Bill Knecht that led to his receipt of the award:

Since the inception of the “official” pro bono program between Legal Services and the Lycoming Law Association in 1985, there has been recognition of the excellent participation, the sense of dedication, and the continued commitment of the members to the referral program.

The PBA has recognized this dedication in awarding to the Association the Goffman Award, the state’s highest honor for pro bono efforts. At each meeting of the PBA, Lycoming County is commended on its pro bono program, and the commitment of the lawyers who participate. Whenever I attend pro bono conferences, state and national, I am asked , “how do you get the members of the Bar to volunteer and maintain the effort year after year?”

The usual factors that are brought up include the work of Dick Roesgen who saw legal services’ need for help and instituted the protection from abuse panel; the associations bold initiative to mandate its members to participate in a referral program with legal services; Judge Raup’s leadership in that action and his willingness to put the support of the court behind the mandate; the involvement of respected members of the Bar whose example and prodding have encouraged other members to participate; and of course the players themselves, the members of the Bar who take their code of professional responsibility to heart and believe that it is a duty and an obligation of their chosen profession to provide this service to the indigent in their communities.