NYSBA To Honor Lawyers for Exceptional Pro Bono Work

By David Howard King

January 27, 2022

NYSBA To Honor Lawyers for Exceptional Pro Bono Work


By David Howard King

The New York State Bar Association will honor the selfless pro bono work of two lawyers who have shown exceptional commitment to serving the public good, as part of the association’s Annual Meeting.

The Outstanding Pro Bono Volunteer Awards will be presented at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore will speak at the virtual ceremony.

“During times like this of suffering and struggle, acts of benevolence and charity are all the more poignant,” said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown. “Using one’s position as a lawyer to help create a more just society is part of the responsibility of our profession.”

Attorneys Lauren Hammer Breslow and Elissa Hecker will be honored for their pro bono service during the event.

Breslow, a professor, philanthropic adviser, and an attorney, provides pro bono services to the housing unit at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley in New York and The Promise of Justice Initiative in Louisiana. The Promise of Justice Initiative provides services to individuals convicted by non-unanimous juries. In her role as a philanthropic adviser, Breslow has served as a foundation representative on scientific award committees and overseen the distribution of more than $60 million in philanthropic funds.

Hecker, a widely recognized corporate, copyright, and trademark law attorney, is being honored for her pro bono work in the arts where she has aided struggling artists who need legal advice. Through NYSBA’s Pro Bono Steering Committee (Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law) and a partnership with New York Foundation for the Arts, Hecker has organized walk-in clinics to provide artists access to legal advice.

Six law firms to be honored for their pro bono contributions are: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Hogan Lovells US; Phillips Lytle; Barclay Damon; and Bond, Schoeneck & King.

The firm of Copps DiPaola Silverman will receive a 2021 Special Recognition award.

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting tradition. The 145th Annual Meeting will focus on more than 65 different topics from Jan. 18 to 28. Subjects include Law and Ethics during the Pandemic: Individual Rights vs the Common Good; New York State’s Surprise Billing Law Against the Backdrop of the Federal No Surprises Act; New York Energy Leadership: Can NY Become a Hub for the Energy Industry?; and Prosecutors and the Color of Justice: The Role of the Prosecutor in Reforming the Criminal Justice System.

The Presidential Summit on Thursday, Jan. 20, will focus on two of the leading social justice and civil rights matters of the day: a reevaluation of the #MeToo Movement, and the intersection of transgender rights and sports. Attorney General Letitia James will give the keynote address.

Other featured speakers at the Annual Meeting include Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Cannataro; Lily Batchelder, assistant secretary for tax policy, Department of the Treasury; and retired Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Stein, director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.

For more information on NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, click here. Media are invited to most virtual programs but please notify Susan DeSantis at [email protected] or 201-575-5756 and Brandon Vogel at [email protected] or 518-487-5644.

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