Great Neck attorneys Janet Nina Esagoff, Rachel Rokhsar and Rebecca Sassouni were among the 400 attorneys to receive the 2018 Access to Justice Pro Bono Recognition from the Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA) for providing the largest number of pro bono hours of legal service to Nassau residents in need in 2017.
“Ensuring access to justice for all is central to the mission of the Nassau County Bar Association,” noted NCBA President Steven G. Leventhal. “In the past year, volunteer attorneys have provided more than 7,700 hours of desperately needed assistance to Nassau County residents, resulting in more than $2.7 million in free legal services. All of these efforts would be impossible without the commitment to service, generosity of spirit and high standards of professionalism of our members and our not-for-profit legal service partners who we recognize today.”
NCBA Vice President Richard Collins, cochair of the Access to Justice Committee, added, “The premise of the recognition is to honor those who place the highest priority on helping society and those less fortunate. Our efforts to identify where there is need and communicating this to the legal community results in more attorneys becoming involved.”
Rokhsar was the recipient of the Top Pro Bono Provider in the Small Firm/Solo category. She volunteers her time at The Safe Center LI, where she assists victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking with legal advocacy.
“Volunteering teaches you to be grateful for the things you take for granted in your own life,” said Rokhsar. “Helping others helps to spread hope, kindness, courage and compassion. At the end of the day, nothing beats the feeling of receiving a favorable decision by the judge in favor of your Safe Center client.”
Esagoff is the principal attorney at the Esagoff Law Group, PC, in Great Neck. She concentrates her law practice in the areas of real estate, business law and civil litigation. She regularly volunteers her legal services, including for the Nassau County Bar Association, where she was honored as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month in March.
“It is said, ‘if you want something to get done, give it to a busy person,’” said Esagoff. “As a second career attorney and now solo practitioner with an entrepreneurial mindset, my thriving law practice takes a lot of time and effort. While I also have a busy household, I always make time to give back to my community whether serving on a board or providing direct assistance to a neighbor. It especially makes me feel good to volunteer and do good in my chosen profession. I help people in distress, employ my skills and collaborate with colleagues—and that enriches my law practice like nothing else.”
Sassouni’s eponymous practice, Rebecca Sassouni, Esq., PLLC, is limited to the representation of students of all ages in public and private school settings in matters regarding special education and/or student discipline, such as suspension and probation.
Her private practice includes pro bono matters as an outgrowth of her commitment to public service. She serves in a volunteer capacity as a trustee of the Great Neck Public Schools and as president of Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc. (SHAI).
“I grew up with parents who always volunteered, so it is second nature to me, especially as a child of immigrants, to want to pay my education forward,” said Sassouni. “Busy people tend to be most productive as they squeeze the most out of every minute. It is nice to be recognized, but I would do it all anyhow. My motto is ‘Do what you can, while you can.’”