NYSBA Honors Attorneys, Legal Service Providers for Ensuring Quality Legal Services for the Poor

By Brendan Kennedy

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The New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) Committee on Mandated Representation is honoring a criminal defense lawyer, a public defender and two legal service organizations for their dedication to helping low-income New Yorkers gain access to quality legal services.

Andrew Kossover, a criminal defense attorney in Ulster County; Deborah Lolai, a public defender at the Bronx Defenders; The Immigrant Justice Project and Brooklyn Defenders Services will not receive their awards until the committee is scheduled to meet again in 2021. The delay is because of the Covid-19 crisis.

2020 Denison Ray Award Criminal Defender Award

Andrew Kossover

A partner at Kossover Law Offices in New Paltz, Kossover is the past president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) and is a long-time member of the NYSACDL Legislative Committee. As chair, he led successful campaigns for Rockefeller Drug Law Reform and Article 245 Discovery Law Reform. He serves on the advisory group for the New York State Justice Task Force on Wrongful Convictions.

Excellence in Mandated Representation Awards

Deborah Lolai

A pioneer in the defense of LGBTQ clients, she is the founder of the LGBTQ Defense Project at the Bronx Defenders, where she represents clients in criminal cases, advocates for improved conditions of confinement and supports families facing discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity.

The Immigrant Justice Project

Under the leadership of co-directors Robin Nichinsky and Marianne Yang, the Center for Appellate Litigation’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP) has created a pathway to relief for clients who are not citizens. Serving as the largest post-conviction relief project of its kind in the country, the IJP is dedicated to the pursuit of equal justice under the law for indigent residents of New York City.

Brooklyn Defender Services

The Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) provides multi-disciplinary and client-centered criminal, family and immigration defense as well as civil legal services, social work support and advocacy. For over 20 years, BDS has provided immigration services, family attorney services, social workers, jail-based services, youth advocates and education specialists.

About the Awards

The Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award recognizes defense attorneys or organizations that exemplify the highest levels of professionalism in providing zealous representation to indigent clients. It is named for Denison Ray, a career legal activist who led legal services programs in New York and other states.

The Excellence in Mandated Representation Award recognizes an attorney or organization that demonstrates the highest professional standards, works to find innovative ways to improve mandated representation and ensures high-quality representation.

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