Excellence Awards (Criminal and Family Court)

Promoting Excellence in Mandated Representation Award

A major accomplishment of the Committee on Mandated Representation was the drafting of standards for attorneys providing mandated representation in Criminal and Family Court cases. The standards set the floor for a mandated representation system. Originally promulgated in 2005, the Standards have undergone revisions in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2018. The Standards have been widely distributed throughout the mandated provider community in New York. 

To encourage adherence to these standards, and in conjunction with the Committee’s biennial, free Continuing Legal Education program for mandated providers, in 2007 the Committee established an award to honor those who do not merely comply with the Standards, but exceed them, setting an example for all to follow.

The award is given to up to three recipients who meet one or more of the following criteria:  

  • To an attorney, group of attorneys, or organization for demonstrating consistent adherence to the highest professional standards in providing mandated representation.
  • To an attorney, group of attorneys, or organization for engaging in innovative efforts to improve the overall quality of mandated representation.
  • To a private individual, public officer, or organization for advocacy to promote steps by the legislature, executive or judiciary to ensure the provision of high quality mandated representation.

Download the nomination form here.

Past Recipients of the Award for Excellence in Quality Mandated Representation:

Clare J. Degnan
The Legal Aid Society of Westchester County

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy

Commission on Parental Legal Representation, NYS Unified Court System

Antoinette Costanzo & Thomas Klein
Legal Aid Society

New York State Senator John A. DeFrancisco 

New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy

New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services

Center for Family Representation

Justice First Project, Center for Appellate Litigation

Joanne Macri
Office of Indigent Legal Services

New York State Defenders Association

New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Office of the Appellate Defender

Charles F. O’Brien

Joseph S. Damelio

Lawyers for Children, Inc.

The Family Court Project of Southern Tier Legal Services


The Bronx Defenders