Fordham Law Alumnus Recognized for Pro Bono Work

January 12, 2011

Fordham Law alumnus R. Andrew Richards '95, Partner at McCarter & English, was acknowledged for his pro bono work in the National Law Journal's 2011 Pro Bono Awards special report. Because of Richards' and colleague Ralph Delouis' pro bono efforts, their firm was one of six to be honored with the recognition.

Richards and Delouis are developing a microlending initiative to assist Haitian farmers in obtaining loans, with the ultimate goal of stimulating economic development in the earthquake-ravaged country.

“Haiti has relatively few banks which tend to focus primarily on the commercial sector,” said Richards. “There are few if any institutional lending sources for the underprivileged or the agrarian sector. This new entity will facilitate small loans to farmers producing mangos and other commodity crops, such as coffee and cocoa, with the objective of helping farmers increase yield and transform their commodities to higher value end products. We are very pleased with how this effort is progressing.”
Richards and Delouis visited the country after the earthquake to consult with their nonprofit client about developing the microfinancing entity. They met with economic development officials and project sponsors to advance the launch of the formalized institution. Part of their work involves preparing charter documents for the institution and the loan documentation that will eventually be used. Once the program is operational, it will provide seed money to the working poor in Haiti to help them build and stabilize their farming and business ventures.

"Fordham Law congratulates Mr. Richards on this recognition and applauds his noble efforts in Haiti," said Interim Dean Michael M. Martin. "The motto of Fordham Law is 'in the service of others', and that is precisely how Mr. Richards is practicing the law."