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LawHelp/NY Project Director Among Recipients of
New York City Bar’s 23rd Annual Legal Services Awards

Leah Margulies to Receive Honor in Recognition of Leadership

New York, New York, June 11, 2012 - The New York City Bar Association has named Leah Margulies, LawHelp/NY Project Director, among the recipients of its 23rd Annual Legal Services Awards. Margulies was recognized for her leadership of LawHelp/NY in providing outstanding civil legal assistance to New York’s poor.

LawHelp/NY is part of the national LawHelp.org network of nonprofit legal information portals developed by Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged, in partnership with local organizations around the country. LawHelp/NY was developed and is managed by a consortium of 10 organizations.

Margulies joined LawHelp/NY, the state’s leading source of online legal referrals and Know Your Rights information, in 2006. Usage of the site has tripled during her tenure. Among her achievements are the introduction of a bi-lingual, real-time, chat-based support service, LiveHelp, in which law student volunteers assist users of the site in finding needed resources in English and Spanish; successful outreach partnerships with public libraries, social services organizations and legal services organizations statewide; and development of a search engine optimization and social marketing initiative that has significantly improved search rankings and increased online exposure.   

The Legal Services Awards recognize attorneys and non-attorneys who provide outstanding civil legal assistance to New York’s poor. This year’s awards will be presented on June 13.

“We are thrilled to see Leah’s hard work and dedication recognized,” said Mark O’Brien, Executive Director of Pro Bono Net. “Last year, nearly a half a million people used LawHelp/NY to find vitally needed information, referrals and self-help tools. LawHelp/NY was the inspiration for the creation of a national network of nonprofit legal information websites in almost thirty states, and Leah has ensured that New York continues to drive and share innovation with the field.”

 “The most important thing about LawHelp/NY is that it is the collective way that legal services organizations throughout the state are able to respond to the needs of unrepresented people,” said Margulies.

LawHelp/NY is managed by the New York LawHelp Consortium, which consists of the City Bar Justice Center, Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society of New York, Pro Bono Net, Volunteers of Legal Service, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Empire Justice Center, New York State Bar Association, Legal Assistance of Western New York and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. The Consortium was a finalist for the 2009 Collaboration Prize, which recognizes nonprofit organizations that collaborate effectively to gain greater impact.

For more information about Margulies’ and LawHelp/NY, go to Pro Bono Net’s blog, Connecting Justice Communities, to read an interview with her.
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