January 19, 2009


ALBANY--The New York State Bar Association's Committee on Lawyer Referral Service is seeking nominations for the Angelo T. Cometa Award, which recognizes individuals or groups in New York State demonstrating an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service

The Lawyer Referral and Information Service assists members of the public in obtaining information about the availability of legal services and other agencies, and increases the public's access to attorneys. Ideally, nominees fulfill the award criteria by demonstrating outstanding and long-term service to LRIS. The winner does not have to be an attorney or a member of the State Bar Association.

"During this critical time when law firms are reducing staff and more people are seeking the assistance of a lawyer, lawyer referral services are busier than ever helping the public find a lawyer or information. It's a monumental but necessary task to help the greater good," said Committee on Lawyer Referral Service Chair Rajpattie Persaud-Billette. "We are pleased to again honor those working diligently to help the public find and receive quality legal services."

Nominations should include a narrative of no more than 500 words describing the individual or group's efforts in advancing the goals of LRIS. Supporting materials, such as letters of reference and articles, may be submitted. The nomination form is available on the Association's Web site at

The deadline for nominations is February 17. The award will be presented on April 3, 2009 at the House of Delegates dinner in Albany.

Past winners include Allen Jay Charne of New York (New York City Bar) and Past State Bar President Angelo T. Cometa, who chaired the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service during the LRIS' first year in 1981. As committee chair, Cometa was instrumental in establishing the LRIS and increasing public access to attorneys.

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