January 22, 2020: NYSBA Honors Attorneys, Law Firms for Extraordinary Pro Bono Service and 2019 Empire State Counsel

Attorneys Lindsay Heck and Lee Redeye will be honored for their pro bono service by the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) President’s Committee on Access to Justice (PCAJ) on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the 2020 NYSBA Annual Meeting.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon to celebrate the attorneys who have earned the designation of Empire State Counsel®, by performing 50 hours of pro bono service in 2019. 

New York State Attorney General Letitia James will give the keynote address at the event.

“The Justice for All awards Luncheon is NYSBA’s way of thanking those members who have adhered to the highest standards of professionalism by giving of their time and talents to benefit those who cannot otherwise afford legal assistance,” said Scott Karson, NYSBA’s president-elect and PCAJ co-chair.

“In 2006, NYSBA launched Empire State Counsel® to acknowledge the hundreds of hours of pro bono legal service New York State attorneys give every year to thousands of low-income New Yorkers facing critical life crises such as loss of home or benefits,” said Committee Co-chair, Edwina Frances Martin. “Today, thousands of lawyers proudly display their Empire State Counsel pins to show the world their dedication to one of NYSBA’s and the legal profession’s most cherished principles: facilitating the fair administration of justice” 

Heck, a commercial litigation associate at White & Case in New York City, has built an extensive pro bono practice that includes representing the parents of schoolchildren in high-poverty, underfunded school districts and victims of human trafficking. Notably, she led the team from White & Case on a groundbreaking class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of the approximately 30,000 children in Flint, Michigan, who were poisoned by lead in the water during the city’s infamous water crisis.

Redeye, an associate in the Indian Law Practice and Litigation Practice teams at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman in Buffalo, and advocates for Seneca Nation tribal members. His idea led to the formation of a Native American legal assistance clinic, in partnership with the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project and Native American Community Services. The clinic assisted over 36 Native American individuals from numerous tribes in 2019. Redeye was recently elected chair of the board of directors for the Seneca Commission for Economic Development.

The Empire State Counsel celebration also honors the law firms that have made exceptional efforts to encourage their associates and partners to give back. The committee recognized six law firms – three from upstate New York and three from the downstate area. 

The downstate firms to be honored are Proskauer Rose; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The upstate firms to be honored are Nixon Peabody; Barclay Damon; Copps DiPaola Silverman. 

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, which each January attracts thousands of lawyers from around the state, the nation and the world. They come to meet and connect with colleagues and to learn from experts in many areas of law.

A wide range of programs at NYSBA’s 143rd Annual Meeting Jan. 27-31 will explore current issues in law and legal practice. The Presidential Summit on Wednesday, Jan. 29, will look at White Nationalism and Domestic Terrorism in America. 

At Thursday evening’s sold-out Gala Dinner, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan will receive the Gold Medal, NYSBA’s highest honor, and participate in a fireside-style chat with Prof. John Barrett of St. John’s University School of Law. 

Other featured speakers at the Annual Meeting include New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the first African American and the first woman elected to that office; Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals; and Craig Boise, dean of Syracuse University College of Law.

For more information on NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, click here.

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.

###

Contact: Joan Fucillo
[email protected]
518-487-5670