recipients were honored with 2015 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards May 5 in
Albany. President Glenn Lau-Kee (Kee & Lau-Kee) and President-elect David
P. Miranda (Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti), co-chair of the President’s
Committee on Access to Justice, recognized the honorees
during a luncheon at the State Bar Center.
“Attorneys in New York have a long and distinguished
tradition of helping the disadvantaged,” said Lau-Kee. “Their selfless
commitment to increasing access to justice for New Yorkers provides us with
inspiring examples of what is possible and helps raise public awareness about
the importance of access to justice for all—not just for those who can afford
In addition to honoring attorneys representing 12 of New York’s 13
judicial districts, the awards were given to a lawyer under age 36 or
practicing less than 10 years, a senior lawyer, law school group, law student,
in-house counsel, small firm, mid-size firm and large firm.
The recipients include:
(Ballard Spahr) of New York City helped develop the Clemency Project 2014,
under which as many as 5,000 to 7,000 prisoners nationwide may qualify for, and
receive, presidential clemency.
(Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster counties)
A. Papazian of Albany (The Law Office of Lynne
A. Papazian) spent 40 hours assisting eight clients in 2014 through the Legal
Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Attorney for the Day program.
(Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence,
Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington counties)
B. Hill of Massena (Lekki, Hill, Duprey
& Bhatt) represented six clients, providing about 60 hours of service the
past two years through the Legal Aid Society’s Private Attorney Involvement pro
(Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego counties)
K. Lawson Hatch
of Syracuse (Bousquet Holstein) assisted more than 40 clients through multiple
programs offered by the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County.
Judicial District (Broome,
Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga,
L. Gibson, Jr.
of Johnson City donated 115 hours of pro bono service to Legal Aid
Society of Mid-New York, Inc. in 2014, defending indigent tenants in
Binghamton City Court eviction cases and volunteering for Legal Aid’s Helpline
and Veteran Center Talk to a Lawyer
(Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates counties)
M. Williams of
Rochester donated more than 236 hours of service to low-income clients in 2014,
working with the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County.
(Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming
L. Trigilio of
Buffalo, a partner in the two-attorney firm Trigilio Ciambrone Partnership,
performed more than 70 hours of pro bono work through the Erie County Bar
Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project, and also volunteered for the Family
Court Help Desk.
(Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester counties)
New York City (Clifford Chance US) worked with My Sister’s Place on a complex,
contested modification of a custody matter with severe domestic violence and
spent hundreds of hours to gain a successful
outcome for the client.
(Nassau, Suffolk counties)
M. Somer of
Westbury (Nassau Suffolk Law Services Volunteer Lawyers Program) helped
hundreds of low-income individuals make fresh financial starts with Chapter 7
bankruptcy proceedings. He has logged in excess of 300 hours in 24 years for
the Volunteer Lawyers’ Project’s bankruptcy clinic.
A. Beltas, a
solo practitioner in Astoria, has provided pro bono service to the CLARO-Queens
Consumer Debt Clinic, since 2012. She provides legal assistance to low-income
Queens residents and also has provided service to the Queens Foreclosure
Faragi of New
York City (Baker Botts) worked on eight matters for five clients with Her
Justice. He was one of its first pro bono attorneys to successfully argue that
an adverse party’s signing and filing of an I-864 Affidavit of Support for a
client’s immigration case legally bound the husband to provide spousal support.
New York City (Seward & Kissel) worked with 21 clients on 26 matters
referred to Seward & Kissel by Her Justice. Of the 26 matters, 18 were
litigated divorce cases.
Rochester (Trevett Cristo Salzer & Andolina) donated 297 hours of pro bono
work during 2013–2014 through the Volunteer Legal Services Project of
formerly an associate general counsel of the New York State United Teachers,
has worked with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York since her
retirement in 2011. She assisted 232 clients with unemployment insurance benefits
and holds advice clinics.
student at the State University of New York Buffalo Law School, volunteered
more than 350 hours with the Volunteer Lawyers Project in 2014. She also
assisted with the Homeless Task Force at Neighborhood Legal Services.
Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights of Columbia Law School worked under the supervision of
attorneys from the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (and partner law
firms), Kids in Need of Defense (and partner law firms) and Immigration
Equality on projects in New York City, El Paso, Texas, and Jordan.
International Group’s (AIG) Global, Legal, Compliance, Regulatory Affairs &
Government Affairs Department personnel
volunteered 2,027 hours to 34 projects in 2014, working with 28 nonprofit
organizations. The 128 AIG attorneys focused on 10 areas of law, and about
1,500 hours were devoted to New York-based projects.
374 attorneys from Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York City
performed 18,600 hours of pro bono work, supplemented by 2,813 hours performed
by legal staff. The activities helped low-income workers in New York City,
immigrants and battered women, among others. The group also worked with the
Supplemental Social Security Income Waiver Clinic.
more than 26 Hodgson Russ attorneys of Buffalo provided bro bono
legal assistance in 113 cases through the Volunteer Legal Project’s Attorney of
the Morning eviction defense program, Federal Court Pro Se Assistance Program,
National Green and Healthy Homes initiative and the Say Yes to Education
Buffalo legal clinic initiative.
The Law Offices of Remy R. Perot of Binghamton established a divorce referral program
to help low-income individuals and also provides training to undergraduate
Binghamton University pre-law students.
The 74,000 member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state
bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
and more information: Contact Christina Couto at firstname.lastname@example.org for photos of award recipients. To
read more about the Presidents’ Pro Bono Service Awards, go to www.nysba.org/PBawards.