The New York State Bar Association is pleased to call for nominations for the 22nd annual President’s Pro Bono Service Awards. Each year the Association proudly recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to ensuring low-income New Yorkers have equal access to justice.
Although nominees do not have to be members of the New York State Bar Association, to be eligible for one of these prestigious awards, an attorney must be admitted to practice in New York State and must have rendered her/his pro bono service or participated in a pro bono program within the State. Nominees will be evaluated based on pro bono service donated during the previous year, including but not limited to the following factors: the number of clients served, number of hours contributed, impact of the service on clients, and/or the impact of their service on a pro bono program or community.
Historically, the Association has presented an award to an attorney from each of the thirteen Judicial Districts. Judicial District honorees are selected based on the county where their pro bono services are rendered. An award also is bestowed upon a “young lawyer,” defined as “an attorney who is not yet 37 years of age, or anyone, regardless of age, who has been admitted less than 10 years.” Awards also are presented to an outstanding law student and a law school group whose pro bono involvement has made a substantial difference in the lives of the clients’ served.
Recognizing the vast disparity in the size of law firms across our State, the Association created three distinct categories of law firm awards: a Small Law Firm - defined as an office employing two to 49 attorneys; a Mid-sized Law Firm - an office employing 50 to 200 attorneys; and a Large Firm – an office employing 201 or more attorneys. Award nominees in these categories will be evaluated based on the breadth and scope of the law firm’s pro bono involvement and its active and successful promotion of pro bono service by their attorneys.
The In-House Counsel or Government Office award is intended to recognize an attorney who has rendered outstanding pro bono service while serving as an in-house counsel, public service or government attorney. Nominees in this category may be an individual attorney, an office or team of attorneys. A total of two awards may be presented in this category.
The highly competitive Senior Attorney award recognizes a senior Attorney, aged 65 or older, who has demonstrated a commitment to the ideal of equal access to justice for New Yorkers of limited financial means. The Senior Attorney nominee must not be actively engaged in the full-time compensated practice of law. This category recognizes that more and more attorneys are delaying their retirement from the practice of law and enables the Association to pay tribute to the emeritus attorneys who have retired and are devoting their legal acumen to the cause of promoting and protecting the legal interests of all New Yorkers, regardless of age, disability, income, or social status.
Kindly refer to the nomination brochure, which outlines the criteria and other details about each of these awards. We also urge you to share this information with your colleagues and others in your community and encourage nominations. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to honor the dedicated attorneys, students and law firms who have made a difference in support of pro bono services for the poor by submitting a nomination on behalf of a worthy nominee. If you have any questions or require additional nominating forms, please contact the Department of Pro Bono Affairs at (518) 487-5641 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. The awards will be presented on May 1, 2012 in Albany, New York.
Presented by: President's Committee on Access to Justice
Co-Sponsored By: Committee on Legal Aid, Dept. of Pro Bono Affairs and the Pro Bono Coordinators Network