07/03/2019 -Pro Bono Publico Award

Established in 1987, this award recognizes the outstanding efforts of attorneys who have provided equal access to justice to the needy through a Rhode Island Bar Association Pro Bono Program during the past two years. Selection for this award is based on the number of cases accepted, case type and difficulty, the number of pro bono hours, and total length of service through the programs.  Additionally, qualities considered include the attorney’s professionalism, compassion and commitment to public service.

This year’s Pro Bono Award recipients, Joanne C. D’Ambra and Stephen G. Linder, have made exceptional contributions through the Elderly Pro Bono Program and Volunteer Lawyer Program. These two attorneys are outstanding representatives of the contributions and support given by sole practitioners throughout the state.

Elderly Program- Pro Bono Award

Joanne C. D’Ambra, Esq.
graduated from Rhode Island College. She earned a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a JD from New England Law.  Joanne is a general practitioner in Cranston. She practices in several areas of law including bankruptcy, probate and family law and is a compassionate and dedicated volunteer attorney through the Bar Association’s Elderly Pro Bono Program.  

Attorney D’Ambra is keenly aware of the financial risks associated with getting older and responds quickly and directly when foreclosure, collection and bankruptcy cases for the elderly are presented for placement. Many seniors with only Social Security income turn to credit to bridge basic expenses such as food and health care.  In short time, they aren’t even able to make the required minimum payments.  Joanne understands that for most elderly, it is not an easy decision to seek legal relief.  Her approach eases their fears and her representation helps them work toward financial stability.  In the past two-plus years, she has handled 17 cases for elderly clients with overwhelming debt, as well as family law and guardianship matters contributing over 150 pro bono hours.

Joanne’s Bar Association activities include being a member of the Lawyer Referral Service. She has also been a member of the Volunteer Lawyer Program since 1996, and was recognized in 2004 for her extraordinary pro bono service.  Also, as a member of the Lawyer Referral Service, she offers reduced fee services to financially eligible clients.  When time permits, Joanne enjoys reading, drawing and traveling to sporting events in cities throughout the country.

Fortunately for the community, Attorney D’Ambra has made public service and protecting the rights of our neediest senior citizens a true priority.

Volunteer Lawyer Program – Pro Bono Award

Stephen G. Linder, Esq. graduated from the University of Rhode Island and received his law degree from Suffolk University School of Law. Steve is a distinguished Honorary Member of the Bar Association and practices in East Providence where he concentrates in family law and personal injury matters.  During his legal career, Attorney Linder was a partner for ten years at the Lovett & Linder firm and then Letts, Quinn & Licht prior to being a sole practitioner.  
Steve’s outstanding Bar Association public service contributions include his longstanding support and membership in the Volunteer Lawyer Program.   As a volunteer attorney for   over 20 years, he has consistently participated and accepted complex family law matters such as divorce and custody.  Without any thought of recognition, Attorney Linder has willingly continued his pro bono representation of clients in need, some victims of abuse, even when the original case evolved into another complex matter.  In the past two years, he has given 150 plus hours of pro bono service.  This number of hours does not include a trial scheduled for one such client in June.

Attorney Linder’s well-established and ongoing participation in Bar Association activities includes being a member of the House of Delegates for 15 years and chairperson of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee for 10 years.  His ongoing support of public service includes his membership in the Lawyer Referral Service. He is also a member of the Edward P. Gallogly Family Law Inns of Court, a Rhode Island Bar Foundation fellow, and acts as a mediator in the annual Superior Court mediation program.

Steve has an extensive history of community service.  For countless years, he was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and ran the Rhode Island fund drive for the American Cancer Society.  Many of the public recognize him from his 27 years of giving advice as the host of the WPRO radio talk show “Legal Tips.” 

Steve is married to Sharon Linder and they are the proud parents of Sydney Linder Panis and Olivia Linder and grandparents of Beatrice.

Attorney Linder’s concern for others is evident by the value he places on volunteerism.  His willingness to share his expertise has reinforced the purpose and mission of the Volunteer Lawyer Program to represent those in greatest need.