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Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman Presides Over The Legal Aid Society’s 2009 Pro Bono Awards

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

  • Organization: The Legal Aid Society

On October 26th the Society’s 2009 Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, held at Espace, honored approximately 300 leading pro bono lawyers along with 48 law firms, three corporations, and community representatives for their outstanding pro bono services with The Legal Aid Society during the past year. This select group of professionals was nominated from more than 2,000 attorneys and paralegals – primarily from New York’s leading law firms and corporate departments - who handled 2,200 matters, including class action cases, on behalf of our clients.

The volunteers and their firms were recognized for legal excellence in handling administrative hearings, trials, appeals, class actions, nd transactional cases on behalf of senior citizens, disabled children and adults, domestic violence survivors, immigrants facing deportation, homeless children and adults, inmates in correctional facilities, and other vulnerable low-income New Yorkers. The outpouring of pro bono assistance added another remarkable chapter to the 133 year pro bono partnership between The Legal Aid Society and the private bar to secure fundamental legal rights of low-income New Yorkers in critical need of counsel but unable to afford it.

New York State’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman presided over the ceremony, honoring recipients with the presentation of their awards. Chief Judge Lippman praised the New York Bar for its stalwart pro bono commitment.

In addition to individual awards, a number of law firms were highlighted for specific projects. The Pro Bono Honor Roll lists all of the law firms recognized for their outstanding pro bono commitment.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP was the recipient of the 2009 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award for its extraordinary pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. The firm has dedicated substantial resources as co-counsel on four major class action reform cases that will preserve subsidized housing for low-income tenants, maintain public assistance benefits for low-income families, attend to the health and safety concerns of children in residential treatment centers, and address mental health issues of children in foster care. In addition to working on impact litigation, Patterson Belknap has handled a large number of individual cases in a variety of civil legal matters and participated in community outreach and education efforts in the Civil Practice. The award was accepted by Herman Raspé, the firm’s Deputy Managing Partner, and Lisa Cleary, the recipient of the Society’s 2008 Public Interest Law Leadership Award.

* Pictured in the photo above: From left, Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief, The Legal Aid Society; Alan Levine, Chairman of the Board; Herman Raspe, Depute Managing Partner, and Lisa Cleary, Pro Bono Counsel, Patternson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP; Chief Judge Jonathan Liippman; and Blaine "Fin" Fogg, President, The Legal Aid Society.

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