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2021 Pro Bono Service Award Winners

The Vermont Bar Association is proud to announce the 2021 winners of the VBA’s Pro Bono Service Award.  The attorneys being honored are Cristina Mansfield, Kathleen (Kate) Rivers, and Janet Van Derpoel-Andrea.

The Pro Bono Award is given annually to recognize attorneys who provide extraordinary legal services free of charge to indigent and disadvantaged clients in our community.  All three of this year’s honorees represent children in custody and relief from abuse matters in family and probate courts in southern Vermont.

Cristina Mansfield was nominated by Judge Kerry Ann McDonald-Cady of Bennington Family Division who cited Attorney Mansfield’s willingness to serve either as guardian ad litem or attorney for children in relief from abuse or domestic cases.  Judge McDonald-Cady noted that “despite taking on these difficult and time-consuming cases for little to no compensation, Ms. Mansfield, Esq. recognizes the need to serve this vulnerable population and gracefully accepts each time. “

Kathleen (Kate) Rivers was nominated by Judges Kate Hayes, Michael Kainen and Jody French, with COMs Suzanne Borichevsky and Richard Perra of Windham Division, who noted that Attorney Rivers regularly represents children and families in juvenile matters in family and probate division.  They wrote of Attorney Rivers: “Several times over the past year she has, without payment, assisted parents and children in reaching agreements or litigating parental rights and parent-child contact in complex domestic (divorce or parentage) cases, and in probate guardianship cases as well.  Her commitment to her clients has been remarkable and has achieved excellent results.”

Janet Van Derpoel-Andrea was nominated by Judge Cortland Corsones and Docket Clerk Nicole Burdick of Bennington Family Division for her frequent representation of children in relief from abuse and domestic relations cases.  They wrote the following about Attorney Van Derpoel-Andrea: “Thanks to [her] dedicated service to the children of our county, children when they are at their most vulnerable, are provided with able and caring representation to help get them through what may be one of the most difficult periods of their life.” 

The VBA Pro Bono Service Award will be presented to these three attorneys during the VBA’s virtual mid-year meeting beginning on March 25.