honor a member of the NYSBA for outstanding professionalism, which is defined as
dedication to service to clients and a commitment to promoting respect for the
legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by
exemplary ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility.
Presented by: Committee on Attorney Professionalism
Contact: Melissa O'Clair
Nomination Deadline: October 11, 2019
Date Presented: TBA
Prize Awarded: Steuben glass timepiece
The Committee on Attorney Professionalism
administers the annual New York State Bar Association Attorney Professionalism
Award. We are now seeking nominations for the Award. Nominations must be submitted and postmarked no later
than October 11, 2019 on the 2020 Nomination Form (PDF).
working definition of attorney professionalism is as follows: “Attorney
professionalism refers to those qualities and attributes of a lawyer reflecting
honor, integrity, civility, and commitment in the practice of law. These qualities notably elevate the
profession above and beyond a means to earn a living. An attorney demonstrates professionalism by
striving above career success, in pursuit of goals that meaningfully enhance
the pursuit of justice and the rule of law for the betterment of our
society. Those goals include increasing
the representation of the unrepresented and endeavoring to strengthen the
public perception that our legal system functions effectively, impartially, and
fairly. Professionalism naturally
carries with it the awareness that the law, and thus the manner in which
lawyers conduct their practices, has a broad impact on people’s lives and on
compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct and the skillful application
of knowledge, resourcefulness, and perseverance in the performance of service,
attorney professionalism involves a dignified pursuit of a higher calling that
can enrich our society. Professionalism
requires poise, honesty, maturity, and reasoned judgment and embodies a
heightened sense of responsibility and fair play, as well as a respect for others, even when zealously advocating on behalf of the client. As attorneys pursue excellence, they should
also look to apply their hard-earned skills and experience to serve, assist,
and mentor within the profession.
The New York
State Bar Association’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism confers the
“Professionalism Award” on those attorneys who most markedly demonstrate these
values and wholeheartedly embody these ideals.
The Award honors attorneys who evidence
the highest attributes of professionalism in the practice of law: attorneys who
have labored in “the vineyard” and are especially valued by their clients and
their colleagues. Therefore, rather than
being strictly a lifetime achievement award, this particular honor relates to overall
professionalism in the actual practice of law.
A nomination should be supported by letters from others, such as
attorneys, judges or the nominee’s clients or clients’ families, particularly
letters that are contemporaneous with the services rendered. These testimonials are important in the
selection process. Your nomination
should, as inclusively as possible, specify how the nominee has demonstrated
the following attributes:
An attorney reflects the values and ideals
of professionalism by:
in exemplary ethical conduct while fulfilling the spirit, as well as the
requirements, of the Rules of Professional Conduct;
the highest skills level in a specific field, as demonstrated by pursuing
efforts to improve skills above the required continuing legal education and by
keeping abreast of the latest developments in the attorney’s areas of
the way for the enhanced future of the profession, especially by mentoring
distinguished judgment while providing client service at the highest levels,
and formulating and implementing views and advice based on knowledge and
with dignity and integrity as exhibited by soundness of character, honesty in
practice, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and agreeing to disagree without
being disagreeable; and
civility and always endeavoring to behave responsibly and to exhibit
appropriate courtesy and respect of others, in the highest aspirational spirit
of the profession.
Are you aware of an attorney who distinctively embodies these
qualities? We welcome and encourage an
application describing your nominee’s professionalism, so that we may consider
the nominee for our annual Professionalism Award.
The 2019 Attorney Professionalism Award presented to Peter J. Strauss, Esq. will be presented with the during the annual presentation of the NYSBA President’s Pro Bono Service
Awards at the Bar Center on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at a 12:30 p.m.
luncheon. Learn more about the winner here.
Prior award recipients include:
2019 Peter J. Strauss, Esq.
2018 William J. Dreyer, Esq.
2017 E. Stewart Jones, Jr., Esq.
2017 Maryann Saccomando Freedman, Esq.
2016 Norman Resnicow, Esq.
2015 Michelle L. Haskin, Esq.
2014 John S. Marwell, Esq.
2013 John Ferrara, Esq.
2012 Christopher T. McGrath, Esq.
2011 James P. Bessette, Esq.
2010 Mark A. Longo, Esq.
2009 Jill M. Cicero, Esq.
2008 Peter V. Coffey, Esq.
2007 Frank E. Yannelli, Esq.
2006 Terrence M. Connors,
2005 George J. Nashak, Jr., Esq.
2004 James M.
2003 Anne Reynolds Copps, Esq.
F. Thompson, Esq.
2001 Lucille A. Fontana, Esq.