Two New York City attorneys were honored today by the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service (CAPS) for their outstanding contributions to their communities. Jonathan A. Darche, an assistant district attorney in Queens County, and Karen J. Freedman of Lawyers For Children each received the 2012 Citation for Special Achievement in Public Service.
An assistant district attorney in the Narcotics Investigations Bureau of the Queens County District Attorney's Office, Darche has volunteered for five years at the Youth Court of Queens County, where he teaches legal theory and practical courtroom skills to high school students. Working with advisers like Darche, the students are then assigned cases involving children who are diverted from Family Court-some of whom, inspired by the process, subsequently enroll in the program. Darche also participates in STARTrack, a program dedicated to educating at-risk youths about the dangers of gun violence.
Freedman is the founder and executive director of Lawyers For Children Inc. (LFC). Since 1984, the nonprofit organization has provided legal and social services to vulnerable young people in the foster care system, including: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth; victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence; young immigrants; and those who are mentally ill, require specialized educational advocacy or are aging out of foster care. Under Freedman's leadership, LFC has participated in important class action cases on behalf of youth in foster care. The organization also has a division devoted to impact litigation and child welfare policy.
"We are pleased to honor Jonathan Darche and Karen Freedman. They understand how guiding a child through traumatic legal issues can make a difference and alter the course of his or her life," said New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City).
"Jonathan Darche and Karen Freedman share an admirable commitment to helping young people. We congratulate them and wish them continued success as they work to shape the future of countless young people in New York City," said CAPS Chair Catherine A. Christian (assistant district attorney, New York County).
The CAPS award recognizes special achievements of public service attorneys who have a significant positive impact on the community. This year's award ceremony took place in New York City.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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