Programs providing free legal services to the poor, immigrants and domestic violence victims -- as well as a program offering mentoring for young lawyers -- have been recognized for their innovative approaches to helping people.

The New York State Conference of Bar Leaders, sponsored by the State Bar Association, has honored four bar associations with its 2011 Bar Leaders Innovation Awards. The awards recognize exemplary and creative programs sponsored during the past year by local, ethnic, specialty, minority and women's bar associations.

"We are pleased to recognize these outstanding programs, and we commend the attorneys who give of themselves to help their communities and one another," said Earamichia Brown of New York City (MTA Office of the Inspector General), chair of the conference's Executive Council.

The winners will receive their awards on January 27 during the Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City. They are:

New York County Lawyers Association (large bar category, more than 2,000 members): The association's mentoring program helps young lawyers through one-on-one mentoring with experienced attorneys. It also offers customized continuing legal education programs, pro bono opportunities and networking events.

American Immigration Lawyers Association (medium bar category, 500 to 2,000 members): The immigrant assistance program serves undocumented individuals throughout New York City with general immigration clinics, representation of unaccompanied minors and representation of detained individuals.

Adirondack Women's Bar Association (small bar category, fewer than 500 members): The Pro Bono Domestic Violence Legal Project provides free legal assistance to domestic violence victims on civil matters, such as matrimonial law and bankruptcy. Its goal is to enhance community-based services to low-income individuals in rural areas.

Nigerian Lawyers Association (small bar category, fewer than 500 members): The pro bono legal assistance program provides low- and medium-income New York City residents free advice on their legal rights and on navigating the complex system for accessing social services. Clinics are held in conjunction with civic and religious groups.

The New York State Conference of Bar Leaders is a semi-independent organization sponsored by the State Bar Association. It addresses leadership and management issues, and serves as an information conduit to unite the more than 150 bar associations statewide.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest state voluntary bar association in the nation.

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Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer
bvogel@nysba.org
518/487-5535