Denison Ray Civil Awards

Denison Ray Civil Legal Service Awards

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Aid is pleased to sponsor the Denison Ray Civil Legal Service Awards.  Named in memory of career legal activist Denison (Denny) Ray, who led legal services programs in New York and other states, the awards recognize outstanding dedication and professionalism by civil legal services providers.  A total of four (4) awards may be presented.  Two awards are reserved for staff attorneys employed by nonprofit entities that provide free civil legal services to low-income clients. Another award recognizes the outstanding leadership of a director of a civil legal services program or a director of a pro bono volunteer program.  The fourth award is reserved for a nonprofit organization that provides or facilitates the provision of civil legal services to low-income clients.

The Denison Ray Civil Legal Services Awards are presented during the biennial Partnership Conference.


The Civil Legal Services Staff Attorney Awards honor the extraordinary commitment to:

  • The provision of creative, skilled, and zealous representation of low-income clients;
  • Collaboration with pro bono volunteer attorneys from the private bar to expand access to justice opportunities for low-income clients; and/or
  • Efforts to inspire, mentor, and support colleagues in the delivery of exceptional legal representation to low-income clients.

The Director Award honors outstanding  leadership at a civil legal services or pro bono program by an executive director or legal director who inspires the kind of extraordinary commitment by staff and service to the community set forth in the above criteria.

The Nonprofit Organization Award recognizes extraordinary commitment to:

  • Strengthening access to justice initiatives;
  • Delivering or facilitating the provision of civil legal services to low-income and/or disadvantaged clients;
  • Increasing the provision of pro bono services; and/or
  • Marshaling resources to maximize services to the community.


Award recipients will be selected by a committee consisting of the chairs of the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, the Committee on Legal Aid, the Pro Bono Coordinators Network, and the Director of the Department of Pro Bono Affairs.

To view a list of past recipients click here. For more information about the Civil Dension Ray awards, please contact:

The New York State Bar Association
Department of Pro Bono Affairs
One Elk Street
Albany, New York 12207
(518) 487-5641 or