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Commemorating Victor M. Fortuno’S Distinguished Career

Rep. José E. Serrano

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Victor M. Fortuno's distinguished career in public interest law and his thirty years of exceptional service to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

Vic Fortuno is a true American success story. Like me, Vic is a proud ``nuyorican,'' that is, someone of Puerto Rican heritage hailing from New York City. He was born and raised in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, where he lived with his brother and grandparents in a small shotgun-style apartment. Vic thrived both in and out of school and was offered a full scholarship to Columbia University. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees from Columbia, and spent his first year after law school providing legal services to the poor as a staff attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Vic subsequently served for five years as an Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia. His work under then-District Attorney Ed Rendell included assignments to the Trial and Appellate Divisions, as well as the Organized Crime Unit.

Vic came to LSC in 1983 as an attorney in the Office of Compliance and Review. Subsequently, he served as Acting Director of Compliance and Review, Assistant General Counsel, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Deputy General Counsel before being appointed General Counsel of the Corporation in 1991. He has served honorably in that capacity for twenty-two years. Vic also holds the offices of Corporate Secretary and Vice President for Legal Affairs. As a key member of the management team, Vic has provided exceptional legal advice and counsel to eight LSC presidents and four boards of directors. He brought the highest levels of professionalism, ethics, and leadership to LSC's legal department. He achieved a record of success while providing sound advice, compassionate mentoring, and unwavering friendship to countless individuals during his tenure at LSC. Vic served as a stabilizing force in times of crisis, as the keeper of institutional knowledge in times of transition, and as a trusted and knowledgeable advisor throughout.

Vic also served as LSC's first Latino president from 2010-2011. Always prepared and unflappable, with a ready smile, a hearty laugh, and a great sense of humor, Vic brought a wealth of experience and confidence to the Corporation's highest office. His patient, thoughtful, and collaborative leadership style empowered staff and enhanced LSC's commitment to providing access to justice for low-income Americans. I met Vic during this time period, and he struck me as just the type of person we should have in public service--caring, committed, and devoted to helping others.

Throughout his career at LSC, Vic has selflessly dedicated himself to promoting the public interest and making the dream of ``equal justice for all'' a reality for all Americans. He is a model public servant, and I commend him for his life-long commitment to providing high-quality civil legal services to the nation's poor.

I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating and thanking Victor M. Fortuno for his truly remarkable service to the Legal Services Corporation and his immeasurable contributions to both the legal aid community and our nation. I wish Victor all the best as he enters this new phase in his life.