Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer, Dept. of Media Services & Public Affairs

April 7, 2008


Allen J. Charne Recognized for Quality Lawyer Referral Service and Innovation

ALBANY--The New York State Bar Association presented Allen Jay Charne, the Executive Director of the New York City Legal Referral Service (LRS) since 1985, with the 2008 Angelo T. Cometa Award. Charne
received wide recognition for his efforts in coordinating the LRS' disaster emergency responses to the September 11th attacks in New York Cityand the TWA Flight 183 crash. Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan presented the award to Charne at the House of Delegates dinner on April 4th.

The award is sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Lawyer Referral Service and recognizes individuals or groups in New Yorkdemonstrating an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS). The Association's service assists members of the public in obtaining information about the availability of legal services and other agencies, increasing access to attorneys, and/or providing legal services to clients.

"Al Charne's work is a testament to the pioneering efforts of Angelo T. Cometa. For more than 20 years, Charne has provided the people of New York with outstanding lawyer referral services," said Committee Chair David Pajak of Corfu (Pajak Personal InjurySM). "He represents the very best of public service and we are pleased to honor his efforts."

"Al embodies the very best that legal services represent - public service, quality referrals and innovation - and well deserves recognition for his commitment to providing information and quality legal services to the public," wrote Barbara Berger Opotowsky, Executive Director of the New York City Bar, in her nomination letter. "The service that he has built stands as a nationwide model."

Charne has worked at the New York City Bar since 1984 and has served in his current position since 1985. Under his leadership, the LRS has grown to a 15-member team responding to more than 100,000 calls annually. Noted for his innovation in making the LRS more accessible to those in need, Charne founded the City Bar Justice Center Legal Hotline; worked to develop iLawyer,an online referral system; and created Monday Night Law, where eligible New Yorkers receive one-on-one counseling from volunteer lawyers.

Past Committee Chair Angelo T. Cometa won the inaugural Angelo T. Cometa Award in 2007.

The LRIS is a public service of the State Bar. Its goals include administering a coordinated lawyer referral and information system throughout New York and providing the public with information about community and legal services, such as local bar referral services, legal aid societies, legal service programs and public interest law organizations.

From left; David Pajak, Chair. Committee
Lawyer Referral Service; Kate Madigan,
NYSBA President; and Allen Charne,
Executive Director of the New York City
Legal Referral Service.