The favorite part of his job, attorney David Freedman says, is helping people.
Whether they're paying clients or not doesn’t alter his enthusiasm.
Pro bono work is “something that I’ve always, always done as a lawyer since my first job in private practice out of law school. I’ve always felt that pro bono service is not an option but a professional obligation for attorneys,” he said.
“We have a pretty big problem in this country with folks not having access to legal services,” added Freedman.
Freedman, a partner at the Lancaster-based law firm Barley Snyder, was recently honored by the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center in York as its “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” for the second time. He also was honored in 2015.
The organization provides free legal representation, legal counsel, education and advocacy to help immigrants obtain or protect their legal status. Freedman began volunteering there in late 2013.
“These are some of the most exciting and interesting and harrowing stories you will ever hear as a lawyer. The people are just so wonderful and kind and appreciative. I look forward to the day when I can call all of my PIRC clients my fellow United States citizens,” he said.
Freedman, 43, got connected to PIRC by a Barley Snyder paralegal who worked on immigration matters. The paralegal, Rebecca Munscher, introduced him to PIRC Executive Director Mary Studzinski.
“It’s so fulfilling. ... When you thought of yourself as going to law school, this is the type of work you envisioned yourself doing,” said Freedman.
His legal skills aren’t the only reason he’s valuable to PIRC.
He’s fluent in Spanish too, a skill he honed by spending a year studying in Spain while in high school and a summer while in college.
The East Hempfield Township resident, who estimates he spends 5% to 10% of his work time on pro bono cases, providing about $30,000 worth of legal services for free a year, also volunteered at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project from 2016-2018.
Family: wife Jennifer, four children and two cats.
Education: Hershey High School, George Mason University (where he majored in Spanish and philosophy) and University of Richmond School of Law.
A pet peeve of yours is: “When people use the word ‘literally’ incorrectly.”
People might be surprised to know that you’re: “Really obsessed with my cats.”
Your favorite exercise is: “Running.”
Your favorite thing about Lancaster County is: “The heart and soul of Lancaster County resides at the Lancaster Central Market.”
Your dream vacation would be: “The opportunity to go back and visit the Mediterranean Sea and Spain.”
If you could pick anyone in the world to come to your house for dinner, it would be: “President and Michelle Obama.”