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July 2016

Patricia Lee, Esq.
Nevada Lawyer Magazine

The access to justice community lost one of its brightest lights with the passing of Melanie Kushnir in May. 

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The access to justice community lost one of its brightest lights with the passing of Melanie Kushnir in May. 

She devoted her professional life to helping those in need through her roles as Assistant Public Guardian and Assistant Staff Counsel with the American Bar Association’s Center for Pro Bono in Chicago and, at the time of her death, as an employee of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. As the Pro Bono Project Director at the Legal Aid Center, Melanie was instrumental in connecting hundreds of Nevadans with legal aid services, while promoting other statewide access to justice initiatives through her involvement with the Federal Pro Bono Pilot Program and Nevada’s Appellate Pro Bono Program.

Melanie was a member of the Nevada Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and worked shoulder to shoulder with members of the commission throughout the state to identify unmet legal needs and to develop solutions and strategies that would address those needs. The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada attributes the fact that nearly 900 children in the foster care system are currently represented by volunteer attorneys to Melanie’s hard work. That number marks an increase of 50 percent since Melanie began her work with the center.

Her service and inspiration will be sorely missed and never forgotten by the many individuals whose lives she touched. 

To learn more about Melanie Kushnir’s life and work, visit the Legal Aid Center’s website at http://www.lacsn.org/featured-new-events/334-melanie?platform=hootsuite and see the In Memoriam column on page 43 of this publication. 

 with respect and dignity, not victimized,” Laxalt said.