Hope Olsson, Rochester, NY
After a long career in the software business Hope Olsson went back to law school in her late 40s. She has done pro bono work since that time. As a small firm attorney at Olsson, Fedder LLP in Rochester, NY, Olsson has counseled over 348 individual clients for the Volunteer Legal Services Project (VLSP) of Monroe's County's Debt Clinic. Through her work with the Clinic, she provides debt management education for low income clients, participates in one-on-one client counseling sessions and accepts bankruptcy case referrals. She was also instrumental in helping VLSP establish the Clinic, a model that is one of the most successful in the region. Olsson continues to provide pro bono legal assistance in bankruptcy cases despite recent changes in bankruptcy law that have made this type of work more complicated for practitioners. She has also staffed a project once per month in the Rochester City Landlord Tenant Court to advise unrepresented tenants appearing in the Court of their rights and has done some pro bono immigration work.
Since 1998, Olsson has also been a member of the Board of Directors for Farmworker Legal Services of New York (FLSNY). She assists the project by helping to ensure that farm workers who have successful claims are compensated even when the employer files bankruptcy. She assists FLSNY staff attorneys in answering legal questions and providing mentoring in bankruptcy litigation.
In 2006, Olsson received the New York State Bar Associations President's Pro Bono Service Attorney Award. She has also been actively involved in the Monroe County Bar Association's Bankruptcy Committee, which addresses issues of process and justice in Bankruptcy Court, and was a member of the Association's President's Commission on Access to Justice.