March 6, 2009


Prestigious award recognizes substantial contributions lawyers make to society

ALBANY - The New York State Bar Association is seeking nominees for its 2009 Root/Stimson Award, which is presented annually to a lawyer who has demonstrated a significant, positive impact in the community, state or nation, unrelated to the practice of law.

To be considered for the prestigious award, nominees must be a member of the New York Bar and should personify the spirit of community altruism. They should demonstrate selfless dedication in donating their time and skills to activities that enhance the community and the public's opinion of the legal profession. The 2009 Root/Stimson Award winner will be announced at the State Bar's June meeting of the House of Delegates in Cooperstown.

"Lawyers have always had an outstanding tradition of community service, but there are a select few that continually go above and beyond the call of duty. From improving public education to developing new programs for disadvantaged children, they make a profound difference in their communities by helping the public," said Committee on Annual Award Chair G. Robert Witmer, Jr. of Rochester (Nixon Peabody, LLP). "We are pleased to again honor those committed to improving the lives of others."

"Each year, the Root/Stimson Award winner inspires us to better serve our communities," said Subcommittee on the Root/Stimson Award Chair Paul Michael Hassett of Buffalo (Brown & Kelly, LLP). "We look forward to honoring yet another great role model for lawyers and the community at large."

The Root/Stimson Award, created in 1974, was named for distinguished lawyers Elihu Root and Henry Stimson to honor their commitment to public service. Root served in Theodore Roosevelt's administration as Secretary of State and was a 1912 Nobel Peace Prize laureate; while Stimson served in the Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration as Secretary of War during a time of national crisis.

Past award recipients include: Charles C. Russo of Hauppauge (Russo, Karl, Widmaier & Cordano, PLLC ); Stephen J. Dannhauser of New York City (Weil, Gotshal & Manges); Arnold B. Gardner of Buffalo (Kavinoky & Cook); Michael P. Leone of Rochester (Harris, Chesworth, O'Brien, Johnstone, Welch & Leone); Wayne D. Wisbaum of Buffalo (Kavinoky & Cook); and the late Hanna Cohn of Rochester (Volunteer Legal Services Project).

Nomination forms, which must be postmarked by Friday, April 17, and application instructions are available for download at Completed forms should be mailed to Susan Fitzpatrick, Department of Media Services & Public Affairs, New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207.

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.  Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.