June 16, 2010


Division of the New York Legal Assistance Group Honored for Legal Service for the Indigent

ALBANY - LegalHealth, a core division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, was honored with the New York State Bar Association's 2010 Denison Ray Nonprofit Organization Award at the Legal Assistance Partnership Conference in Albany on June 15. Sponsored by the Department of Pro Bono Affairs, the award recognizes a nonprofit organization that provides or facilitates the provision of civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients.

LegalHealth is the country's largest medical-legal partnership and serves as a model for similar programs nationally. Since its inception in 2001, the nonprofit has provided more than 17,000 vulnerable, low-income clients with free legal services in medical settings. They have also educated health care professionals about legal issues relevant to their patients including such topics as wills, health care proxies, insurance matters, and employment/workplace accommodations.

"Throughout the past decade, LegalHealth has been a leader in providing disadvantaged clients who suffer from serious health issues with the quality legal services they require. Its work has greatly improved health care outcomes for their clients at a time when those services are needed most," said State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP). "The State Bar is proud to honor LegalHealth for its extraordinary advocacy on behalf of our State's most vulnerable citizens."

LegalHealth received a cash award of $1,000 to be used to increase the organization's capacity to serve people in need of pro bono legal services.

The Denison Ray Awards were named for Denison Ray, an advocate for the indigent who led legal services programs in New York and other states for more than 30 years.

The Department of Pro Bono Affairs supports pro bono activities statewide and a variety of State Bar access to justice initiatives. The term "pro bono," derived from the Latin phrase pro bono publico, meaning "for the public good," encompasses among other things, donated legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000 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.