Six to be Honored by Torts, Insurance, and Compensation Law Section

By David Alexander

January 13, 2023

Six to be Honored by Torts, Insurance, and Compensation Law Section


By David Alexander

The Torts, Insurance, and Compensation Law Section of the New York State Bar Association is honoring two exceptional judges and four outstanding attorneys during the TICL and Trial Lawyers Awards and Cocktail Reception on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. as part of the New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City.

Hon. George J. Silver (ret.) and Hon. Denis J. Butler will receive the Outstanding Jurist Award. Judge Silver is being honored for his achievements during his tenure as deputy chief administrative judge for the New York City Courts. Justice Butler is being honored for his contributions as a justice of the Supreme Court, Queens County.

Saul Wilensky, retired partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, will receive the John E. Leach Memorial Award while Professor Patrick M. Connors has been selected for the Professor David D. Siegel Award and Brian Barnas and Abigail Dean will receive the Young Lawyer Award.

Judge Silver is one of New York’s leading mediators, having presided as an elected civil and Supreme Court judge for 17 years. Silver headed the creation of a New York City Judicial Mediation Part (J-Med) that led to the resolution of thousands of cases and a sharp decline in court backlogs. Silver also managed a Medical Malpractice Early Settlement Part and oversaw general matters in a range of disciplines, including personal injury, matrimonial, and motor vehicle disputes.

Justice Butler has presided over thousands of cases, many of which involve complex fact patterns or legal postures, extensive litigation and motion practice. A distinguished writer, he has published numerous decisions in the Official Reporter and articles on law matters affecting civil practice in the New York Law Journal.

Wilensky, a seasoned trial lawyer who specializes in the defense of product liability relating to design, manufacture and repair of products and services, has helped shape product liability law in New York. Wilensky represents major manufacturers of heavy construction equipment and recreational equipment as well as legal malpractice defendants, regularly trying complex matters throughout New York’s state and federal courts.
Patrick M. Connors is the Albert and Angela Farone Distinguished Professor in New York Civil Practice at Albany Law School where he has taught legal ethics for 23 years. Connors became the author for the treatise Siegel, New York Practice, beginning with the January 2013 supplement. The publication’s sixth edition, “David D. Siegel & Patrick M. Connors, New York Practice (6th ed. 2018)” was released in March 2018 and has been called “The Bible” for litigation in New York State Courts. Connors was a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics from 1996 through 2016
Brian Barnas, member at Hurwitz & Fine, has successfully litigated insurance coverage matters in federal and state court across New York. Barnas graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law summa cum laude, finishing in the top 5% of his class. He earned the Cali Awards for Academic Excellence in Copyrights, Insurance Law, and in Criminal Procedure I and II.
Abigail Dean, a litigation associate attorney at O’Connor, O’Connor, Bresse & First, is an Executive Committee member of the association’s TICL Section. She was a Dean’s List student at Albany Law School where she participated in the Honorable Dominick Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Competition. She was previously an assistant counsel for the majority counsel for the New York State Senate and a legislative fellow.

The John E. Leach Memorial Award recognizes outstanding service and distinguished contributions to the legal profession as a member of the TICL Section while the Sheldon Hurwitz Young Lawyer Award recognizes outstanding contribution to the practice of law in the field of insurance. The Professor David D. Siegel Award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the study of New York law.

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting tradition. The 146th Annual Meeting takes place from Jan. 18 to 24 with in-person events at the New York Hilton Midtown from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21 and virtual sessions Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.

Highlights of the Annual Meeting include the Presidential Summit, “Mental Health and the Justice System: Impacts, Challenges and Potential Solutions,” held  from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The Presidential Gala honoring civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday Jan. 20 at the Rainbow Room.  For more information on NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, click here.


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