AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HONORS STATE BAR
SEYMOUR W. JAMES, JR. FOR WORK WITH NEEDY NEW YORKERS
State Bar Association President Seymour W. James, Jr. will receive
the American Bar Association’s prestigious 2012 Dorsey Award in
recognition of his long career of service providing legal assistance to
the poor and disadvantaged.
The Dorsey Award is presented by the ABA’s Government and
Public Sector Lawyers Division in honor of an outstanding public
defender or legal aid lawyer. It will be presented at a ceremony on
August 3 in Chicago.
James, attorney-in-charge of criminal practice at The Legal Aid
Society in New York City, became president of the State Bar Association
on June 1. He is the first State Bar Association president to come from
the nonprofit legal community since 1993-94 when the late Archibald R.
Murray served as president. Murray was executive director of The Legal
“Mr. James’ innovative projects and accomplishments have
significantly improved the delivery of legal services to New
York’s most needy residents,”according to an American Bar
Association (ABA) statement. “He integrated the use of social
workers into the arraignment process to help identify clients with
mental health issues and speedily develop a plan for access to essential
services; he established the Trafficking Victims Legal Defense and
Advocacy project; and he developed landmark case caps legislation to
address excessive caseloads.
“In addition, through Mr. James’ leadership in the
Correctional Association of New York and the Osborne Association, he has
worked indefatigably to develop community based prevention,
rehabilitation and alternatives to incarceration through public
education and advocacy efforts.”
James joined The Legal Aid Society in 1974 as a staff attorney in the
criminal defense practice. He later served in supervisory positions in
its Bronx, Kings and Queens county offices, including attorney-in-charge
of the Queens office. In 2005, he was named attorney-in-charge of the
criminal practice. In that role, he leads the trial, law reform,
post-conviction, parole revocation and appellate criminal practice.
The New York State Bar Association, with 77,000 members, is the
largest voluntary state bar association in the United States. It was
founded in 1876.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993