January 27, 2010


Schiff cited for half century of public service, strong mentoring legacy

NEW YORK-Peter H. Schiff, senior counsel to the New York State Solicitor General's Office, was honored with the Excellence in Public Service Award from the New York State Bar Association during its Annual Meeting on January 26 at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. The award, sponsored by the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service, recognizes individuals who demonstrate a "higher calling" in government through their extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity in the public sector.

The Committee honored Schiff, of Loudonville, for his decades of exemplary public service while serving as a role model and mentor to many of today's government attorneys. These lawyers praise Schiff for his career guidance and wise counsel. He is widely regarded as a master teacher on brief writing and the rigors of oral argument, as well as a sharp and creative force in legal analysis. At 80, he shows no signs of slowing down.

"Whether it's advocating for causes that serve the public good, addressing the special needs of our citizens in court, or upholding the highest standards of the legal profession, this year's recipients of our Excellence in Public Service Awards make a difference each day in the lives of New Yorkers," 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). "The State Bar is proud to recognize their fine work, and I congratulate Peter Schiff for winning this honor."

Other recipients this year were Hon. Patricia D. Marks of Rochester, the presiding judge of the Judicial Diversion Program Court and the Monroe County Veterans Court, and Diane Bosse of Buffalo, chair of the New York State Board of Law Examiners.

After fleeing Nazi Germany as a child, Schiff emigrated to New York and went on to Columbia College and Harvard Law School. He began his career in Washington, D.C. before moving to Albany in 1971, where he served for 10 years as the general counsel to the Public Service Commission. Since 1981, he has held a series of positions in the Department of Law's Appeals and Opinions Division.

"Throughout his 52-year public service career in Washington, D.C. and Albany, Peter Schiff committed himself to advancing the public interest, promoting a more diverse workforce, and shaping the careers of some of our most dedicated public servants. By his example, he demonstrated that a government career can be a higher calling that is carried out with integrity, care and pride," said Committee Chair Hon. Peter S. Loomis of Albany (New York State Department of Transportation). "We are pleased to honor Mr. Schiff for his outstanding contributions and astute advocacy."

Last year's award recipients were Anthony J. Annucci of Albany, executive deputy commissioner, New York State Department of Correctional Services, and Denise E. O'Donnell of Buffalo, deputy secretary for public safety and commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

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.