The New York State Bar Association celebrated Law Day by honoring attorneys and law firms from around the state with 2018 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.
State Bar President Sharon Stern Gerstman presented the 17 awards on May 1 at the Bar Center in Albany. President-elect Michael Miller, co-chair of the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, joined her at the ceremony.
“It is fitting that, as part of our celebration, we honor the men and women who donate thousands of hours of legal services to better the lives of clients who are impoverished,” said Gerstman. “Not only have these lawyers exemplified the best of our profession, but their generosity has significantly helped their communities in addition to the individuals that they serve.”
New York State Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jenny Rivera delivered the key note address on the importance of pro bono service.
In addition to honoring individual attorneys representing 11 of New York’s 13 judicial districts, awards were presented to a young lawyer, a senior lawyer, a law student, government office, small-sized law firm and large firm. The recipients include:
1st Judicial District (Manhattan)
Kevin Sullivan, a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, is an active member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, handling numerous criminal and civil cases.
2nd Judicial District (Brooklyn)
William D. Pollak, a civil litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell, represents pro bono clients in resentencings, amici briefs, and immigration matters.
3rd Judicial District (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster counties)
G. Kimball Williams, of counsel at McNamee Lochner, is a longtime volunteer with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.
4th Judicial District (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington counties)
Alexander Dunshee, co-founder and partner at Tobin & Dunshee, serves low-income clients through his work with Legal Aid’s Pro Se Divorce program.
5th Judicial District (Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego counties)
James Fleckenstein, in private practice in Syracuse, has been a volunteer with the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. at their Consumer Law Clinic for over 15 years.
6th Judicial District (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins counties)
Teresa Rose McNamara volunteers with Legal Assistance of Western New York in Ithaca in their Uncontested Divorce Program.
7th Judicial District (Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates counties)
Anita Pelletier, counsel in the nonprofit practice group at Nixon Peabody, is supervising attorney for all nonprofit pro bono work across their 18 offices.
8th Judicial District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming counties)
Benjamin Dwyer, a commercial litigator at Nixon Peabody, is helping two activists seek asylum and previously helped two children obtain special immigrant juvenile status and permanent resident status.
9th Judicial District (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester counties)
Kevin F. Preston, of MacVean, Lewis, Sherwin & McDermott, has handled landlord-tenant, insurance and consumer debt pro bono matters through Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.
10th Judicial District (Nassau, Suffolk counties)
Lewis Silverman, a retired professor from Touro Law Center, has been an active volunteer with the Suffolk County Pro Bono Project, operated by Nassau/Suffolk Law Services.
11th Judicial District (Queens County)
Arnold W. Drucker, of the Law Offices of Arnold W. Drucker, has volunteered since the inception of the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project, assisting thousands of clients.
Large Law Firm
The Kramer Levin Bail Project Team in New York City works in partnership with Brooklyn Defender Services to challenge excessive money bail set in felony cases in Brooklyn criminal court.
Small Law Firm
Bousquet Holstein attorneys work with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, the Hiscock Legal Aid Society Say Yes Legal Clinics and Upstate Medical University Legal Clinic.
Attorneys of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department work with unrepresented tenants in eviction proceedings via the Tenant Town and Village Court Pro Bono Program.
Barbara M. Heyne, a retired federal court litigator, joined the New York Courts Attorney Emeritus Program in Rochester taking on cases for the Volunteer Legal Services Project.
Shaimaa M. Hussein, an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City, represents refugees from around the world who are seeking asylum.
Patricio Martinez-Llompart, a third-year student at Columbia Law School, has organized law students’ efforts from across the country in assisting with Hurricane María disaster relief in Puerto Rico.
Click here to view full bios and photos for all of the award recipients.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Christian Nolan