Contact: Andrew Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs

February 15, 2008


The Association's New Youth Service Advocate Program Honored

The New York State Bar Association's "Youth Empowering Youth," program was honored by the American Bar Association at its mid- year meeting this week in Los Angeles as one of the winners of the ABA's 2007 Outstanding Law Day Activity Award. New York's winning program identifies young role models and highlights their contributions to their communities. It was modeled after the Association's successful Empire State Counsel program.

"I am so pleased that we were able to create a youth-oriented program that not only introduces our young people to the justice system but also provides them with opportunities to participate in service projects and encourages their peers to take part," New York State Bar Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP) said. "Our winning program is reflective of the Association's long tradition of quality and innovation and we are delighted to be honored by the ABA," Madigan added. "The award is especially meaningful for our Association because Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye served as the ABA's 2007 Law Day National Chair."

The winning organizations were honored for creatively reaching out to schools and the community, and forging strong partnerships with other groups to promote the benefits of the rule of law.

NYSBA's entry combined its Youth Service Advocate Program and a "Mock Trial 101" training video. Through the advocate program, the Association confers honorary designations on young people who certify that they have provided an age-determined quantity of hours of law-related volunteer service in a given year. Participants must identify a need within the court system or other law-related government agencies, develop a project to fulfill that need and write an essay about their experience. The advocate program was initiated on Law Day 2007. Applications are due on March 14, 2008. Plans are to make it an annual program.

The video showcases outstanding New Yorkhigh school students as they prepared for and competed in a statewide mock trial tournament during the weeks preceding Law Day 2007. The Hon. Victoria A. Graffeo, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals narrated the video, which will be distributed to 500 New Yorkhigh schools to inspire students to join mock trial teams.

William Allen, the ABA 2008 Law Day chair and Award Committee member said, "Not only did the New York State Bar effectively highlight the 2007 Law Day theme, but they did so in a way that will have lasting and long-term effects. By providing youth with the knowledge and skills to educate their peers about the justice system, these students will have a better understanding about how our legal system functions and feel empowered to participate as citizens in our society. The American Bar Association applauds the New York State Bar for such a successful program."

For information about the Youth Service Advocate Program, call 518/486-1748 or email

Accepting the award from H. William Allen, ABA's National Law Day Chair, right, are (L-R)
Sebrina Barrett, senior director for Public Affairs and Administrative Services; Immediate Past
President Mark Alcott; Executive Director Patricia K. Bucklin; President-elect Bernice K. Leber;
and President Kathryn Grant Madigan.