BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- As a retired lawyer and Licensed Associate Broker for Bronxville Real Estate , Peter Gill already had a full schedule. That didn't stop him from working pro bono for the Family Court Legan Program of the Pace University Women’s Justice Center though.
“This is a way for me to give back,’’ said Gill, a licensed attorney who spent most of his career with the Corporate Tax Department of J.P. Morgan Chase. “I feel fortunate. The attorneys at Pace are very dedicated and knowledgeable and are great to work with.”
When Gill retired in 2012, he sought volunteer opportunities, and a friend put him in touch with the Pace Women's Justice Center. The Center is involved in many philanthropic activities, including elder law assistance, a legal help line, and the Family Court Legal Program. Gill requested to work in the Family Court Legal Program, which provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, without regards to gender or sexual orientation.
“I was a little selfish,’’ Gill said. “I wanted to stretch myself, too. Even though I was a lawyer, I was a corporate tax guy. I had never seen the inside of a courtroom except when I was a juror. This was something completely new, and a challenge.”
The Family Court Legal Program, which has offices at the Family Court locations in White Plains and Yonkers, provides legal assistance for domestic violence victims on a walk-in basis. It assists victims in obtaining temporary orders of protection and in drafting support and custody petitions. To prepare, Gill was grateful for the opportunity to audit the domestic violence class at the Pace Law School, which is taught by Tracey Alter, the Director of the Family Court Legal Program.
“We’ll draft petitions and usually accompany the petitioners to court,’’ Gill said. “It’s all done on an emergency basis in one day, which makes it easier to volunteer.”
Gill finds the work challenging and rewarding. “Our principal mission is to help people who have suffered domestic violence after having been married or in an intimate partner relationship. The people who come into our offices really need this help,’’ he said. “We’ll ask them if safety planning is necessary. In some cases they need immigration help, and we'll make a referral to agencies that can help them. If necessary, we will also help people find places to live if they are fleeing a dangerous situation.”
Gill believes we still need to help raise more awareness on domestic abuse. “We have to intensify our efforts,’’ Gill said. “All this information that comes out on sports figures, on campus abuse, or military abuse, just highlights all the work that needs to be done in this area.”
Gill joined Bronxville Real Estate in the mid 1990s in a part-time role. He enjoys working there as well.
“It’s a very good real estate group,’’ he said. “We try to fashion our services to what the people need. We spend a lot of time with our clients. The firm as a whole is client-focused, has a good attitude and likes to help people.”
To speak with Gill or another agent at Bronxville Real Estate, call (914) 337-1234 or visit their website .