On February 3, 2010, Delaware Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. presented Joshua J. Novak, an associate at Richards, Layton & Finger, with an Official Commendation from the Superior Court of Delaware for his pro bono work in its Mental Health Court. The Mental Health Court was launched in 2008 to identify and support individuals with serious mental health issues, and guide them toward recovery and self sufficiency. Josh was recognized for his public service advocacy efforts that went above and beyond program expectations.
Since becoming a Mental Health Court defendant’s advocate in June 2009, Josh has volunteered over 110 hours of his time assisting a defendant while he was incarcerated and throughout his probation. Josh’s efforts included making sure the defendant got the clothing and medications he needed, helping him recover his property, arranging for him to visit his mother in a nursing home, and more.
Josh acknowledges that none of this would have been possible without Richards Layton’s unwavering support and commitment to pro bono activities, and he is grateful to the firm for the opportunity to become a Mental Health Court defendant’s advocate.
“This was my first experience with mental health and substance abuse issues, and it opened my eyes to a lot of things,” Josh explained. “The experience has humanized and personalized these issues that so many people are battling. Here was a good individual who had fallen on hard times—simply having someone advocate for him has helped to empower him to turn his life around.”