Eight New York City-area lawyers have been honored by the New York State Bar Association for their efforts in providing free legal services to indigent clients.
As part of National Pro Bono Week, the lawyers received their awards at the New York City Civil Court at an Oct. 27 event at which the New York County Lawyers Association and the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program recognized additional attorneys for their pro bono work.
“These awards highlight all of the hard work lawyers generously give of themselves for low-income individuals,” said State Bar President-elect Sharon Stern Gerstman, who presented the awards. “We are incredibly proud of their efforts to enhance access to justice for New Yorkers who otherwise would not have been able to afford an attorney.”
The Pro Bono Volunteer honorees are:
Peter Lattanzio, of Kaye Scholar, is representing a large group of gas station workers from Nepal for alleged unpaid wages. He has devoted 237 hours to the case in the past year. He is also president of the Young Leaders Council of Services for the Underserved, a nonprofit helping low-income people with disabilities.
John Aerni, of Winston & Strawn, helped obtain justice for a client living in rural upstate New York who was unlawfully evicted. The case also achieved systemic change that will benefit tenants throughout the state.
Matthew Levy, of Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett, represents victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, immigration and election law. He has worked with attorneys from Sanctuary for Families to identify women who might be eligible for a temporary immigration status available to trafficking victims.
The Attorney Emeritus Program Volunteer honorees are:
Larry Alexander, a longtime volunteer with Legal Services NYC’s housing advocates, has assisted six debtors with Chapter 7 bankruptcy for the NYC Bankruptcy Assist Project since 2014.
John Bryant volunteers for The Legal Aid Society and has worked primarily on Social Security benefits issues. Bryant is also researching a foster care benefits case before the Appellate Division.
Robert Hilliard has been working with Safe Passage and has represented five children. He has also worked on matters in family court, immigration court and before the asylum office.
Elizabeth King, who has been a pro bono attorney with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley since 2009, enrolled in the Attorney Emeritus Program in May and has performed more than 133 hours of work since.
Martin Schwartz has been volunteering at Student Advocacy since the fall of 2015, representing many students and their families at suspension hearings in Westchester County.
The American Bar Association established National Pro Bono Week in 2009 to support local efforts to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services, recognize the significant efforts of pro bono attorneys and showcase the tremendous difference that pro bono lawyers make to the system of justice, communities and to the clients they serve.
The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in
Contact: Christian Nolan