NYSBA Announces Denison Ray and Phil Dailey Awards

By Brandon Vogel

NYSBA Announces Denison Ray and Phil Dailey Awards


By Brandon Vogel


The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Aid is honoring two attorneys, a paralegal and a nonprofit organization for their work preventing eviction and helping the survivors of domestic violence.

“As a result of the work of our award winners, thousands of people were represented by lawyers who would not have been otherwise,” said T. Andrew Brown, president of NYSBA. “It is a privilege to recognize the hard work and dedication of this year’s award winners. They embody the very best of our profession.”

The awards will be presented Oct. 19 during the 2021 Special Legal Services Awards Ceremony. The keynote speaker will be Ronald S. Flagg, president of the Legal Services Corporation. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore will also give remarks.

Recipients of this year’s awards are:

Laura Diane Rolnick of Syracuse, Civil Legal Services Individual Attorney Award: Rolnick is the program director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Central New York’s Eviction Defense Program, which assists 1,200 tenants a year who are in danger of losing their home.

Cindy Kanusher of White Plains, Legal Services Program Director Award: Kanusher, executive director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, has focused her career on domestic violence and legal services for the underrepresented. During her tenure, the justice center has grown into a highly respected, multi-faceted legal services and training center serving more than 3,500 people annually. She developed a walk-in clinic to provide free, bilingual legal services in a safe and accessible location. Since its opening in 2018, the clinic has been serving 70 to 80 victims of abuse monthly, increasing services by 20%.

Pace Women’s Justice Center of White Plains, Nonprofit Organization Award: The justice center, the first academic legal center in the country devoted to training attorneys on domestic violence, is now the largest civil legal services provider dedicated to serving victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse in Westchester and Putnam counties.

Kelly Perine of Bath, Phil Dailey Award: Perine, a survivor of domestic violence, has brought her experience to work as a paralegal/advocate for Legal Assistance of Western New York. When she became a staff paralegal in 2006, Perine helped develop a model of trauma-informed representation of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault that is still used by the domestic violence team.

The Denison Ray Awards were named for the former executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. Ray died in 1994.

The Phil Dailey Award was created in 2016 in memory of Dailey, a paralegal at Legal Assistance of Western NY. The award was developed in recognition of the vital services staff members provide in ensuring access to justice.

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, NYSBA 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: Brandon Vogel
[email protected]

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