Contact: Rosanne M. Van Heertum
Director of Development, The New YorkBar Foundation
Contact: Nicholas Parrella
Associate Director of Media Services
May 10, 2010
THE NEW YORK BAR FOUNDATION ESTABLISHES THE MARK H. ALCOTT FUND TO SUPPORT PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAMS
The New York Bar Foundation has established a new restricted fund in honor of former New York State Bar Association President Mark H. Alcott, Esq. An initiative spearheaded by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP of New York (Paul, Weiss) and Mark's wife, Cantor Susan B. Alcott, The Mark H. Alcott Fund will support pro bono legal services for the poor.
Gifts totaling $10,000 already have been contributed to The Foundation from Paul, Weiss and Mr. Alcott's family to establish the Fund. The firm's gift serves as a tribute to Alcott for his years of dedicated and ongoing commitment to the legal profession.
Distributions from the Fund will be used to provide financial support through The Foundation's grant making program for projects that provide pro bono legal services for the underprivileged. Grants will be awarded to legal services agencies or other nonprofit organizations throughout New York as determined by The Foundation's Board of Directors. The Board will make every effort to distribute grant awards to both upstate and downstate service organizations in an equitable manner.
Foundation President, M. Catherine Richardson (Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC, Syracuse), said, "The Foundation is pleased to establish this restricted fund in Mark Alcott's honor. The pressing need for funding for programs providing pro bono legal services for the poor grows with each passing day. This is a fitting tribute to Mark, especially because he created the Empire State Counsel program to promote pro bono legal services for the poor while he was serving as president of the State Bar. The program and this Fund exemplify his strong desire to help the poor gain access to justice by obtaining free legal services."
Mark Alcott has spent his professional career as a trial lawyer at Paul, Weiss focusing on commercial litigation. In addition to his substantial client responsibilities, he served for several years as partner in charge of the Paul, Weiss Public Matters Committee, which oversees the firm's extensive pro bono and public service efforts.
While serving as president of the State Bar, Alcott led the fight for independence and diversity of the bench and the bar and against discrimination in the legal profession. His many initiatives included proposals to reform judicial selection procedures, develop a new civil rights agenda, and enhance opportunities for lawyers in transition between positions, including those who temporarily leave the profession to care for children or other family members and those who leave involuntarily because of adverse economic conditions. He initiated and led the effort to end mandatory retirement policies in the profession, a proposal that won endorsement by the American Bar Association and that led to many significant and favorable changes in this practice. He created the Empire State Counsel program that promotes free legal services for the poor and he advocated an extensive reform agenda.
The New York Bar Foundation invites you to contribute to The Mark H. Alcott Fund by sending your check, made payable to The New York Bar Foundation, to The New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207, by credit card online at www.tnybf.org or by phone at 518/487-5651.
Founded in 1950, The New York Bar Foundation is celebrating its 60th Anniversary of providing funding through its grant making program to facilitate the delivery of legal services; increase public understanding of the law; improve the justice system and the law; and enhance professional competence and ethics.
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. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.