LawHelp/NY has been honored with the 2013 Angelo T. Cometa Award, given by the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service of the New York State Bar Association.
State Bar President Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City) presented the award to Leah Margulies, executive director of LawHelp/NY, on April 5 in Albany.
LawHelp/NY, a website, contains detailed information, in more than 40 languages, about legal services programs that provide free attorneys for low-income New Yorkers. More than 1,300 people each day visit the website (www.lawhelpny.org), which was launched in 2001 by the New York LawHelp Consortium.
"In New York, the need for legal services is far greater than the resources available for low-income individuals. LawHelp/NY has done a terrific job of efficiently and expertly helping the public with their legal problems," said Anna Katherine Christian of Albany (Boies, Schiller & Flexner), chair of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. "We are pleased to honor their excellent work."
During Superstorm Sandy, LawHelp/NY launched a Disaster Assistance blog (www.mynewyorklegalhelp.com/hurricanesandynyassistance) which contains recovery and relief information on topics such as food stamp replacement, evictions, unemployment benefits and FEMA applications. The blog had 12,000 visitors in November.
The website also includes more than 4,000 self-help resources, including interactive legal forms and appeals forms. It launched LiveHelp, a real-time, online chat service in English and Spanish, in February 2010. Nearly 6,000 chats were conducted in 2012.
Created in 2007, the award is named for Angelo T. Cometa, past State Bar president and chair of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. It recognizes those who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the State Bar's Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS).
The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Brandon Vogel