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Pro Bono Legal Work is Shared Mission
From its earliest days as a nonprofit lender, the Leviticus Fund has counted on a spirit of volunteerism to support its community development work.
Leviticus’ pro bono attorneys exemplify this spirit. Their volunteer services not only guide the Fund through real estate transactions, but also provide financial savings to borrowers by eliminating the customary lender legal fee expense.
“The law firms representing Leviticus pro bono allow our Fund to provide more beneficial capital to those we seek to assist,” explained Greg Maher, Leviticus’ Executive Director. “We are grateful for their commitment to our mission. Their work allows us to provide the equivalent of a small, in-kind grant of between $5,000 and $15,000 to each of our borrowers.”
The attorneys representing Leviticus are Bernadette Kenny, RSHM, in private practice; Christine McGuinness with Schiff Hardin LLP; William J. Robb, Esq., in private practice; and Robert E. McCarthy with Dentons US LLP.
Sr. Bernadette Kenny is Leviticus’ pro bono counsel with the longest history of service. She began her pro bono work back in 1990 following her election to Leviticus’ Board of Directors. Sr. Bernadette is a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, based in Tarrytown, New York, which is a Member Investor in Leviticus and eligible to have representation on the board.
“Having neither silver nor gold, or dollars or financial management expertise to invest, I had only time and a basic knowledge of real estate transactions to contribute to the venture,” explained Sr. Bernadette, about her early days providing pro bono counsel.
“My annual investment of a relatively small amount of time has reaped a great return for me. Not only has my knowledge of real estate and lending transactions increased, but I have worked with so many good people on the Leviticus staff and the representatives of the borrowers,” added Sr. Bernadette. “As I drive around the Leviticus lending area and see some of the Leviticus projects, I have a great sense of pride and also of privilege to have had a small part in improving people’s lives. The return on my investment far exceeds that permitted by New York Law to the holders of Leviticus subvention certificates!”
One of the newest law firms to join Leviticus’ pro bono team is Dentons, which provided legal support for the Yonkers project featured in our February newsletter. Robert E. McCarthy, a partner with Dentons, explained that one of the firm’s guiding principles is service to the communities and that pro bono work is just one way it embodies this value.
“We are proud to support the Leviticus Fund as it works, in faith, to channel resources in a socially responsive manner, knowing that we do not own the world and its resources, but we are merely allowed to make use of them for the good of all,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Our real estate colleagues and our Firm were proud to assist in the redevelopment of the Warburton Project and we look forward to working together with Leviticus on many projects in the coming years, as Leviticus and Dentons fulfill their missions of service."
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