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The Legal Aid Society’s 2008 Pro Bono Awards

Friday, October 17, 2008

  • Organization: The Legal Aid Society

On October 7th the Society's 2008 Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, held at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, honored the "best and the brightest" of the legal profession along with corporations and community representatives, for their outstanding pro bono services with the Legal Aid Society during the past year. This select group of professionals were nominated from more than fourteen hundred (1,400) pro bono counsel by the Legal Aid mentors on their cases. The volunteers and their firms were recognized for legal excellence in handling administrative hearings, trials, appeals, class actions, and 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 New Yorkers. The outpouring of pro bono assistance added another remarkable chapter to the 132 year pro bono partnership between Legal Aid and the private bar.

As has been the long and wonderful tradition, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye presided over the ceremony, honoring each recipient as she presented their award. She praised the New York Bar for its stalwart pro bono commitment while also urging lawyers to greater levels of pro bono service. Judge Kaye, who will be retiring in December, also was honored by the Society for her active, innovative leadership in encouraging greater pro bono participation.

In addition to individual awards, the following law firms and attorneys received special recognition:

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP was the recipient of the 2008 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award for the firm's extraordinary pro bono commitment including, under the leadership of Richard Clary and Elizabeth L. Grayer, as co-counsel on the McCain lawsuit. The settlement, after twenty-five (25) years of litigation, ensured a permanent and enforceable right to shelter for homeless children and their families.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP received the Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award during the 2008 Pro Bono Awards Ceremony. The award was presented to Elizabeth L. Grayer, a partner at Cravath. Presenting the award to her were (from left) Alan Levine, Chairman of The Legal Aid Society; Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Steve Banks, Attorney-in-Chief.

Lisa Cleary, the pro bono partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP received the Public Interest Law Leadership Award, playing a pivotal role in the firm serving as co-counsel this year on four affirmative litigation matters.

Jay Greenfield, of Counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Allen Joslyn, retired partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, were the recipients of the first Legal Aid Second Acts® Award, as quintessential models of continuing a lifetime of dedication to the law and serving the public good.

Dewey LeBoeuf LLP; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP; and White & Case LLP were honored for their Externship Programs that provide exceptional client representation and pro bono assistance in the areas of criminal defense, general litigation, immigration, juvenile rights, transactional law, and as corporate counsel.

The program listing each honoree and describing their pro work is on the Legal Aid Society website,


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