March 1, 2010


Recipients Must Demonstrate an Outstanding Commitment to Providing Free Legal Counsel to Those in Need

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association announced today that it is seeking nominations for the 20th Annual President's Pro Bono Service Awards. The prestigious awards are bestowed each year to honor attorneys who provide exceptional free legal services to those most in need. The awards also highlight the importance of pro bono service in ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal access to our justice system, regardless of income. The awards will be presented in conjunction with the Law Day celebration on May 3rd at the State Bar Center in Albany.

"Unfortunately, public funding for legal assistance for the indigent continues to shrink as demand grows. But lawyers from across New York have stepped up and donated hundreds of thousands of hours in free legal services. The Pro Bono Service Awards shine a spotlight on the very best in our profession who make a very real difference in people's lives," said New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "I look forward to honoring those who work tirelessly to ensure equal justice for all."

A total of 20 awards will be presented including one honoree from each of New York's 13 judicial districts. Awards will also be presented to a young lawyer, a senior lawyer, a large law firm, an in-house counsel or government attorney, a small/mid-size law firm, a law student, and a law student group.

Nominees will be judged by the number of pro bono clients and hours served; the significance of the nominee's work on their client's lives; and the overall impact of that work on addressing New York's pro bono needs. Winners will be selected by a committee that includes the chairs of the President's Committee on Access to Justice, the Committee on Legal Aid, and the Pro Bono Coordinators Network, as well as the director of the State Bar Association's Department of Pro Bono Affairs.

Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominators must submit a nomination form, available at, and a statement in support of the nomination. Up to three additional supporting statements can be submitted. Additional information about the awards and a nomination form can be obtained by visiting, by emailing, or by calling 518-487-5641. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 19.

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.