The Adirondack Women’s Bar Association (AWBA) will be honored today with the State Bar’s 2016 Angelo T. Cometa Award for its pro bono work aiding domestic violence survivors.
The AWBA, a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, launched a free monthly legal clinic in 2010 that, since its inception, has helped more than 175 individuals.
“The State Bar is proud to recognize the ongoing commitment of the Adirondack Women’s Bar Association in assisting domestic violence survivors, whose legal needs may have otherwise gone unmet,” said David P. Miranda of Albany (Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti). “Their efforts clearly serve the mission of the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service and do not go unnoticed.”
The clinics, held in Glens Falls, provide one-on-one meetings between domestic violence survivors and volunteer attorneys, who answer questions on matters related to divorce, support, custody, tax, bankruptcy, foreclosure and landlord-tenant issues.
The clinic also offers client referrals to other legal organizations and private attorneys. Administrative assistance is provided by the Catholic Charities Domestic Violence program.
The award, sponsored by the State Bar’s Committee on Lawyer Referral Service, recognizes individuals or groups in New York that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service.
The award is named for Angelo T. Cometa, president of the State Bar between 1990 and 1991. During his presidency, he advocated for increased compensation for judges and adequate funding for the Interest on Lawyer Account Fund. He also led the Bar’s successful effort to oppose a proposed sales tax on legal services.
Under Cometa’s leadership, the State Bar created its Lawyer Assistance Program, Pro Bono Department and what is now known as the Department of Law Practice Management. In 2007, he was honored with the inaugural Angelo T. Cometa Award, named to recognize his leadership of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. Cometa died in 2014.
The New York State Bar Association, with 74,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Christina Couto
Senior Media Writer