Committee on Attorney Professionalism: Award for Attorney Professionalism


To 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: December 15, 2021

Date Presented: 2022 President’s Pro Bono Service Award Ceremony

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 December 15, 2021 on the 2022 nomination form.

June M Castellano

Congratulations to June M. Castellano

Recipient of the Year 2021
New York State Bar Association
Award for Attorney Professionalism

You have earned the admiration of colleagues, the respect of members of the bench and the grateful appreciation of clients for whom you have made a difference. You are highly regarded for your expertise in matrimonial and family law and in the representation of domestic violence victims. You have an outstanding reputation for your legal acumen, advocacy skills, integrity, fairness, and reasoned judgment while representing your clients with dignity, sensitivity and awareness of their needs and difficult circumstances. You have given unstintingly of your time and talents in positions of leadership for numerous Bar Association, Commissions, Boards and Community Organizations.

You are here by honored for advancing the stature and quality of the profession of law by exemplifying its highest standards, by serving as a mentor and role model for other attorneys, and by representing the epitome of professionalism.

About June

June M. Castellano maintains a solo private practice in suburban Rochester. She offers representation to individuals facing family dissolution and other relationship issues in both litigation and collaborative law. She represents not only adults but children as well in Supreme and Family Court. She is a trained mediator and also provides attorney-based mediation services. Ms. Castellano has advocated on numerous issues affecting family policy before legislative and administrative forums. She has developed and delivered educational programs and publications for attorneys and human services professionals. She has served in leadership roles with the New York State Bar Association, New York Bar Foundation, Monroe County Bar Association, and Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. She is active in community service work, especially in the area of domestic violence and indigent legal services. In 2001, she participated in an international legal exchange to Novgorod, Russia where she lectured on New York domestic violence laws. She has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Rochester where she created and taught a seminar entitled “Women as Advocates.” Ms. Castellano received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester.

The Committee’s working definition of attorney professionalism is as follows: “Attorney Professionalism” Defined

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 society itself.

Beyond thorough 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:

  • Engaging in exemplary ethical conduct while fulfilling the spirit, as well as the requirements, of the Rules of Professional Conduct;
  • Attaining 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 expertise;
  • Paving the way for the enhanced future of the profession, especially by mentoring younger attorneys;
  • Exercising distinguished judgment while providing client service at the highest levels, and formulating and implementing views and advice based on knowledge and experience;
  • Acting with dignity and integrity as exhibited by soundness of character, honesty in practice, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable; and
  • Demonstrating 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.

Prior award recipients include:

2021 June M. Castellano, Esq.
2020 Angela Giannini, Esq.
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, Esq.
2005 George J. Nashak, Jr., Esq.
2004 James M. Conboy, Esq.
2003 Anne Reynolds Copps, Esq.
2002 Carlton F. Thompson, Esq.
2001 Lucille A. Fontana, Esq.
2000 Hon. Barry Kamins