ALBANY--The New York State Bar Association is seeking nominations for the 2009 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. The award is sponsored by the Association's Committee on Children and the Law and will be presented in the spring at the State Bar Center. The award recognizes individuals who have done outstanding work to improve New York's child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The Committee on Children and the Law created the award in 1986. It is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP), who was the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. He has been a strong proponent of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and a leader in fostering improvements.

Nominees must have worked in the area of juvenile justice and child welfare. Nominations should include a narrative describing the individual's efforts to improve New York's child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Supporting materials, such as letters in support or letters of reference, should be sent to Committee on Children and the Law, New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207. The deadline for nominations is March 5, 2009.

Past recipients include Hon. Edward O. Spain (Appellate Division, Third Department), Prof. Merill Sobie (Pace University School of Law), Margaret Burt, Esq., Prof. Jane Spinak (Columbia Law School), Mishi Faruqee (Juvenile Justice Project Correctional Association), Prof. Sarah H. Ramsey (Syracuse University College of Law), Hon. Joseph M. Lauria (New York City Family Court), Hon. Sharon S. Townsend (Erie County Supreme Court), Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr. (NYS Court of Appeals), Hon. Judith S. Kaye, (Retired Chief Judge, NYS Court of Appeals), and Matilda Cuomo, the former First Lady of New York.

The 76,000 member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.