Two Capital Region Lawyers Honored for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by New York State Bar Association

By Jennifer Andrus

Two Capital Region Lawyers Honored for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by New York State Bar Association

9.15.2022

By Jennifer Andrus

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The New York State Bar Association honored two Capital Region legal champions with the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare — Justice Elizabeth A. Garry, presiding justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department, and Rensselaer County child advocate Douglas Broda.

The award recognizes vital work undertaken to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Past recipients include judges, child advocates, social workers, government leaders, court professionals, and community activists.

Colleagues, family and friends warmly greeted the two recipients at an in-person reception held September 14th at the New York State Bar Association Bar Center on Elk Street in Albany.

Justice Garry, a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction, is a former co-chair of the state court system’s Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission.

“Justice Garry is committed to seeing that every participant involved in the court system is treated fairly,” said New York State Bar Association President Sherry Levin Wallach. “Her dedication to serving justice is evident in everything she does. She has had a positive impact on so many lives.”

In her acceptance speech, Justice Garry reminded those assembled of the great responsibility involved in representing children.

“My colleagues and I have issued a strong series of cases trying to help ensure that children’s privacy and confidences are protected by their attorneys and the court. We have issued others upholding the requirement that children be zealously and competently represented in these life-changing circumstances,” she said.

Broda has served on the Attorney for the Child panel in Rensselaer County since 1991 and is the Rensselaer County liaison to the Appellate Division, Third Department. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the Law.

“Doug is passionate about representing children and works to achieve the best outcome for his clients,” Levin Wallach said. “He is devoted to meeting the needs of the children he represents and gives every client his full and undivided attention.”

In accepting the award, a tearful Broda likened his work with children in the courts to a calling.

“We can make a difference for the present, we can make a difference for the future. There is no greater honor than representing children. I am so grateful that for thirty two years our judges have given me that honor,” he said.

Both Justice Garry and Broda called for an increase in the rates the government pays lawyers to represent clients assigned to them by the courts. Increasing assigned counsel rates, which have not been raised in most of the state in 18 years, is a New York State Bar Association legislative priority.

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children and the Law created the Howard A. Levine Award in 1986. It is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine, who was the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. He continues to be a strong advocate for improving New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Acting Chief Judge Anthony Cannataro praised both award award recipient and Judge Levine who was also in attendance. Judge Cannataro recounted the many skills he learned while clerking for Judge Levine early in his career.

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.

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