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December 29, 2009

ROCHESTER JUDGE EVELYN FRAZEE WINS STATE BAR'S RUTH G. SCHAPIRO AWARD

Frazee honored for creating innovative family programs and demonstrating leadership in advancing women's interests

Judge Evelyn Frazee - Shapiro award winner Honorable Evelyn Frazee, State Supreme Court Justice in the 7th Judicial District - well-known for her advocacy on behalf of families and children, particularly those going through the trauma of divorce - will receive the prestigious Ruth G. Schapiro Award from the New York State Bar Association at its House of Delegates Meeting on January 29 at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. Sponsored by the Committee on Women in the Law, the award honors a member of the State Bar 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 Committee singled out Judge Frazee, of Pittsford, for her extraordinary advocacy on behalf of families and her dedication to advancing the interests of women in her community.  During her years on the bench, Frazee has used her legal expertise and creativity to develop programs that combat the wide-ranging and potential long-term effects of divorce on children and families.  She has also established policy to help parents and children cope with its trauma. Her efforts have led to better parenting among divorced couples and healthier outcomes for their children.

"Judge Evelyn Frazee is one of New York's preeminent judges, having worked tirelessly to help children and families in times of crisis and to further the status of women in the legal profession," said State Bar President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "Judge Frazee embodies the core values and the spirit of our profession. I join our Committee on Women in the Law in celebrating her outstanding achievements."

A graduate of the State University of New York at Oneonta and Rutgers University School of Law, Frazee has served as a State Supreme Court Justice in the 7th Judicial District since 1993. She was co-chair of the New York State Committee to Promote Public Trust and Confidence in the Judicial System and a past member of the Special Commission on the Future of the New York State Courts. Frazee also organized an effort to research and promote the history and vital contributions of women in the law, particularly within the 4th Judicial Department. She previously chaired the Gender Fairness Committee for the 7th Judicial District.

In 1998, Frazee joined forces with JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D., to create the program, A.C.T. For the Children (Assisting Children through Transition). The program helped to reduce the impact and the long-term effects of divorce or separation on children by teaching parents how best to contain conflict, to foster children's resilience, and to permit a healthy adjustment during the stressful times of family breakups.

Following the success of the A.C.T. program, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye appointed her to serve as chair of the Parent Education Advisory Board for the State of New York. The board submitted a detailed report establishing a statewide system of certification and monitoring for parent education programs. As a result of Frazee's efforts, separating or divorcing parents now receive valuable education by certified providers throughout the state, allowing them to better understand the effects of their breakup on their children and to lessen the negative impacts.

Within the State Bar, Frazee was a member of the House of Delegates, the Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules, and the Committee on Women in the Law. She is the recipient of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York's 2008 Joan L. Ellenbogen Founder's Award, the Monroe County Bar Association's 2007 Adolph J. Rodenbeck Award, the Greater Association for Women Attorneys' 2004 Hanna S. Cohn Mentoring Award, and the Daily Record's 1997 Nathaniel Award.

The Schapiro Award was developed and is administered by the Committee on Women in the Law in honor of its first chair, Ruth G. Schapiro. The committee's initial report, developed in 1987 under Schapiro's guidance, has served as a springboard for subsequent State Bar reports and actions on issues affecting not only women in the profession, but the public at large. These include domestic violence, child abuse, bias, health issues, and gender equity. Through her leadership, the committee instituted educational programs and publications for the public and the profession.

Past recipients include: Hon. Judith S. Kaye, retired Chief Judge of the State of New York; Maryann Saccomando Freedman, past president of the New York State Bar Association, currently with Cohen & Lombardo, PC; M. Catherine Richardson, past president of the New York State Bar Association and retired private practitioner (Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC); Denise E. O'Donnell, deputy secretary for public safety and commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; and Karen DeCrow, 2009 National Women's Hall of Fame inductee and former president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), who is a solo practitioner in Jamesville, New York.

Founded in 1876, the 76,000-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. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.