April 4, 2017: New York State Bar Association Honors Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project

The Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) has been honored with the New York State Bar Association's 2017 Angelo T. Cometa Award for its longtime commitment to recruiting and training volunteer attorneys for pro bono work.

Since 1990, volunteers from the private bar have provided pro bono help through VLP to thousands of residents in Brooklyn's poorest neighborhoods. Last year, VLP trained and supervised more than 500 volunteer attorneys and other legal professionals, who provided 12,400 hours of pro bono work in areas such as family law, elder law, and consumer law.

"I applaud the work of the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers' Project," said Elena Jaffe Tastensen of Saratoga Springs, who chairs the State Bar's Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. "Countless low-income New Yorkers, who otherwise would have been unrepresented, have been served by the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyer's Project, and their network of pro bono attorneys."

Accepting the award on VLP's behalf was Sidney Cherubin, director of legal services, who trains and supervises volunteer lawyers. Many of the volunteers receive pro bono CLE credit for their work. The award recognizes individuals or groups in New York that demonstrate extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

The award is named for Angelo T. Cometa, president of the State Bar between 1990 and 1991. During his presidency, the Association created its Lawyer Assistance Program, Pro Bono Department and what is now known as the Department of Law Practice Management. In 2007, he was honored with the inaugural Angelo T. Cometa Award, named to recognize his leadership of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. Cometa died in 2014.

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Christian Nolan
Senior Writer