Four government attorneys have been honored with the Excellence in Public Service Awards, given by the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service of the New York State Bar Association.
The annual awards recognize public-sector attorneys who demonstrate a "higher calling" by an extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity. Recipients received their awards on January 24 during the Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City.
"Public service attorneys improve the quality of life for New Yorkers every day. Often, their work goes unrecognized," said Peter S. Loomis of Albany (retired, New York State Department of Transportation), chair of the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service. "We are pleased to again honor an outstanding group of dedicated public servants."
The 2012 recipients are:
Stephen G. Brooks of Washington, D.C.: Brooks recently retired as general counsel to New York's Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund after nearly 15 years of service. As counsel, he wrote amendments to state regulations that substantially increased the interest banks paid on IOLA accounts, educated lawyers about the IOLA Fund; and adeptly worked with all three branches of government. The IOLA Fund helps fund organizations that provide civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers.
Bennett M. Liebman of Albany, deputy secretary to the governor for gaming and racing: Liebman has devoted his entire legal career to public service law. He was the executive director of the Government Law Center of Albany Law School from 2007 to 2011. He previously was counsel to the state Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee; commissioner on the state Racing and Wagering Board; and assistant commissioner for legal affairs to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. He also served, in various legal capacities, Mario Cuomo when he was governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson of Rochester (Western District of New York): Payson has been a U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of New York since 2003. Previously, she was assistant state attorney general in charge of the Rochester Regional Office. Notably, she was involved in the complex negotiations surrounding the Attica litigation settlements.
Payson was of counsel to the Public Interest Law Office of Rochester; an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York; an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton; and law clerk to the Senior Circuit Judge Wilbur F. Pell, Jr. (U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit).
Carol L. Van Scoyoc of White Plains (Corporation Counsel's Office, City of White Plains): Van Scoyoc has served the city of White Plains and Westchester County for more than 25 years. She began her legal career as assistant county attorney for Westchester County and steadily moved up the ranks to become the county's assistant chief deputy attorney. She has been the chief deputy corporation counsel for White Plains since 1995.
Her career achievements include serving as counsel in 150 cases, most significantly, In the Matter of Westchester County Medical Center (Mary O'Connor) 72 N.Y.2d 517 (1988). As a result of that Court of Appeals decision, major changes were made to New York's health care proxy forms to protect the mentally incapacitated.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Brandon Vogel