May 31, 2017: New York State Bar Association Honors Judge and Professor with Howard A. Levine Award

Presiding Justice Karen K. Peters and Professor Theodor S. Liebmann have been honored with the 2017 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare, given by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children and the Law.

The awards, presented on May 30 at the State Bar Center in Albany, recognize the vital services of lawyers and nonlawyers who have done outstanding work to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

“These two outstanding recipients embody the ideals that define this award: excellence in juvenile justice and child welfare,” said Betsy R. Ruslander, chair of the Committee on Children and the Law. “Their work is an inspiration for all of us and has been consequential for children and families across the state.  We are grateful for their dedication and commitment and we are honored to present them with this award.”

Peters is the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department. She began her judicial career as an elected family court judge in Ulster County. In 1992, she was the first woman elected to the state Supreme Court in the Third Department. Two years later, she was appointed to the Appellate Division and in 2012, became the Third Department’s first woman presiding justice. 

Liebmann has directed the Youth Advocacy Clinic at Hofstra Law School since its inception 18 years ago. As attorney-in-charge of the clinic, he works with law students to advocate for youth involved in the immigration and family court legal systems. Liebmann and his students have represented hundreds of immigrant children in dependency and guardianship cases as well as in deportation cases in federal immigration courts.

The award ceremony was attended by New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and State Bar President Claire P. Gutekunst.

The Howard A. Levine Award is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna), who was the first chair of the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice, now the Committee on Children and the Law. He is an advocate and leader in the effort to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.

Contact: Christian Nolan 
Senior Writer