LGBTQ Community Leader to be Honored With Vanguard Award

By David Alexander

January 11, 2023

LGBTQ Community Leader to be Honored With Vanguard Award


By David Alexander

Amy Schwartz-Wallace, a senior attorney at the Empire Justice Center in Rochester, will be honored with the Vanguard Award by the LGBTQ Law Section of the New York State Bar Association during its Annual Meeting Jan. 18-24 in New York City.

“Amy Schwartz-Wallace has devoted her legal career to advancing civil rights for all people throughout New York State and the country. She used her own initiative to undertake LGBTQ work at the Empire Justice Center by securing funding for her domestic violence and LGBTQ practice,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “She also spearheaded the center’s LGBTQ Rights Project that provides free legal services for underrepresented individuals within that community throughout the state’s 57 counties outside of New York City.”

Schwartz-Wallace is a unit director and is currently serving as interim co-legal director at the Empire Justice Center. She has directed the center’s statewide domestic violence practice for 19 years and supervises its LGBTQ Law Project and Crime Victims Legal Network Project by providing legal training to attorneys and agencies statewide.

Christopher R. Riano, chair of the LGBTQ Law Section, praised Schwartz-Wallace for her longstanding support of the LGBTQ community.

“Amy’s incredible work stood out from the pack of very strong nominations this year,” Riano said. “Her decades of dedication to all New Yorkers have made the state a better place, and we could not be more pleased to present her this year’s Vanguard Award in recognition of her service to the LGBTQ community.”

Schwartz-Wallace has also been instrumental in providing support and mentorship to other attorneys around the state. As part of a New York State Bar Association Partnership Conference more than 15 years ago, she organized the first LGBTQ roundtable meeting for legal services domestic violence advocates working with LGBTQ clients.

The roundtable still provides support for LGBTQ and domestic violence attorneys.

The LGBTQ Vanguard Award celebrates an individual who is a member of the LGBTQ community or an ally of the community who has constantly and consistently gone above and beyond to support the LGBTQ community in New York State and around the country.

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting tradition. The 146th Annual Meeting takes place from Jan. 18 to 24 with in-person events at the New York Hilton Midtown from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21 and virtual sessions Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.

Highlights of the Annual Meeting include the Presidential Summit, “Mental Health and the Justice System: Impacts, Challenges and Potential Solutions,” held  from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The Presidential Gala honoring civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday Jan. 20 at the Rainbow Room.  For more information on NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, click here.

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