Marc S. Ehrlich ’80 was one of only five recipients of the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publica Award, given this year at a ceremony in San Francisco.
Ehrlich, the owner of a private practice in Troy, N.Y., has taken pro bono cases since the mid-1980s, working closely with the Legal Aid Society of Northern New York (LASNNY) on roughly 500 cases, he estimates, taking on “everything from preparing the petition to going to court to answering follow-up questions.”
“I think that we as lawyers have an obligation,” Ehrlich says in a video interview. “We’re here to do justice, and to help those who can’t help themselves… That’s how we move forward together as a people. It is a matter of justice. It is a matter of fundamental fairness to everyone and this is why I have gotten involved.”
“Marc’s commitment to assuring fairness to those who cannot afford representation is outstanding,” LASNNY’s Executive Director Lillian M. Moy said in a press release.
“Marc is an example for everyone else in our society,” fellow attorney James E. Hacker said in a video interview, “as to what the private practice attorney can do when they want to.”
A board certified lawyer in Consumer Bankruptcy Law, Ehrlich has served as a Chapter 7 panel Trustee for the Northern District of New York since 1991. He is a three-time winner of the LASNNY’s Distinguished Service Award for Private Attorney Involvement for his pro bono work. He is also the recipient of the 2001 President’s Pro Bono Service Attorney Award from the New York State Bar Association and its Small Firm Pro Bono Award in 2013. In addition to his fulltime work as a bankruptcy lawyer, Ehrlich serves as vice president of the Albany Jewish Community Center. He is the past president of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.
A member of the Chi Phi fraternity and editor in chief of the Herald student newspaper, Ehrlich earned his B.A. in history, graduating cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to earn his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. Ehrlich is a generous supporter of programming at the Abbe Center for Jewish Life.