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05/28/08 Center Fellow Honored for Pro Bono Work

(Boston ,Revised 11/13/09) New England Law | Boston: Center Fellow Sidra Vitale ('07) received a Pro Bono Advocate of the Year Award from Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) at its annual Jammin' for Justice event.

Ms. Vitale was one of several honored throughout the evening. "We're happy to give her this award," said Gene Benson, ACE's staff attorney. "We would not have been able to handle this case without her." Together, Ms. Vitale and Mr. Benson represent eleven Brockton and fifteen West Bridgewater residents trying to keep a power plant out of their neighborhood. They've intervened in the state agency proceeding which will determine whether the power plant is given a permit, and expect to file a legal brief to the agency before the end of the summer.

Ms. Vitale's pro bono work was conducted as part of the Center for Law and Social Responsibility's Environmental Advocacy Project. As Fellow for the Academic Centers, Ms. Vitale serves all three academic centers at New England Law | Boston, while developing and conducting her own public interest legal projects. "Sidra committed herself heart and soul to representing these Brockton and West Bridgewater residents during a tough, legally complex and politically charged administrative process," said Center co-Director Peter Manus. "Her involvement is giving a meaningful voice to the community before the state agency that approves energy facility sitings."

Power plant permitting can take a year or more, and Ms. Vitale became involved in the project almost from her first day as Fellow, then became counsel after her swearing-in as an attorney in November 2007. "I'm honored to have been able to represent these residents," she said. "It's hard work, but it's work worth doing." "I can't think of a more deserving recipient for this public service award," added Manus.

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