June 16, 2010


ALBANY - The late Steven B. Telzak was honored posthumously with the New York State Bar Association's 2010 Denison Ray Program Director Award at the Legal Assistance Partnership Conference in Albany on June 15. Sponsored by the Department of Pro Bono Affairs, the award recognizes outstanding leadership at a civil legal services criminal defense program or a pro bono legal assistance organization by an executive director or legal director.

Serving Bronx County's low-income and disadvantaged community for 32 years, Bronx native Telzak began his career with the Legal Services NYC-Bronx and later served as its project director until his death on March 24, 2010. Under his leadership, Legal Services NYC-Bronx instituted many innovative programs to help low-income residents, such as developing elder law outreach centers, establishing an immigration law practice within its Bronx office, and creating the Foreclosure Prevention Unit to help homeowners facing foreclosure. At the time of his death, he was initiating a capital campaign to purchase a new building for the Bronx office.

"Steven Telzak was a talented and devoted attorney who was beloved by his community. A tireless advocate for access to justice for the poor, his love and dedication for his work was equaled only by his love for the people of the Bronx," said State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP). "The State Bar is proud to honor Steven Telzak for his lifelong contributions to helping Bronx residents receive the legal services they deserve. He is greatly missed."

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 nearly 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.