Contact: Jon Sullivan
Manager of Media Services

September 5, 2007


The New York State Bar Association is seeking nominees for its annual Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, which is given to the woman or man who best illustrates outstanding efforts on behalf of issues affecting women. The award, named after Ruth G. Schapiro, a tireless advocate for women's issues, honors a member of the association who makes positive contributions in areas such as domestic violence, child abuse, bias, health and other concerns of women in the profession and in public life.

The Association's Committee on Women in the Law (CWIL) named the award to honor the memory of Ms. Schapiro, who was the Committee's first chair. Under Schapiro's leadership, CWIL established educational programs and publications for the public and for lawyers. In 1987, the Committee issued its first report on issues affecting women, which was a springboard for increasingly meaningful actions that have contributed to the progress of women in the law, and in particular, women's issues.

"Women have made great strides in the last 20 years," said Taa Grays (NYC), Chair of the Committee on Women in the Law.  "Yet a number of social issues still disproportionately impact women. We must recognize and celebrate those members who continue the fight to ensure women attain complete equality in society."

Nominees may be judges or attorneys, who are members of the State Bar Association. The award will be presented at the Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City in February, 2008.

The Ruth G. Schapiro Award, given annually since 1992, was first presented to the Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York.  Other past honorees include Fern Schair, Senior Vice-President, American Arbitration Association; Maryann Saccomando Freedman, Past President of the New York State Bar Association, currently with Cohen & Lombardo, PC; the Hon. Sondra Miller, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department; the late Hon. M. Dolores Denman, formerly Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department; the Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, former Presiding Justice and Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department and currently with Alston & Bird LLP; Anne Mead, retired Bay Shore practitioner; Hon. Rachel Kretser, Judge of Albany City Court, Criminal Part; the late Joan L. Ellenbogen, Former New York City practitioner; Hon. Kristin Booth Glen, Judge of the Surrogates Court, New York County; posthumously to former Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke; M. Catherine Richardson, Past President of the New York State Bar Association and retired private practitioner; Professor Eileen R. Kaufman, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center; Denise E. O'Donnell, Commissioner, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services; Catherine J. Douglass, Executive Director of inMotion; Professor Rhonda Copelon, CUNY School of Law, and posthumously to Edith I. Spivack, former Assistant Corporation Counsel of the New York City Department of Law.

The deadline for nominations is October 12. Names should be forwarded to the Committee on Women in the Law, New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207. Information can also be faxed to 518-463-8527. Additional forms can be obtained by calling 518-487-5561 or via email at

The 72,000 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, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.