President’s Pro Bono Service Awards

Each year the Association proudly bestows the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards. These awards recognize outstanding pro bono contributions made by individual attorneys, law students, law firms, corporate counsel and/or government offices.  The awards ceremony is usually held on or about May 1st as part of the Association’s Law Day Celebration.

Although nominees do not have to be members of the New York State Bar Association, to be eligible for one of these prestigious awards an attorney must be admitted to practice in New York State and must have rendered her/his pro bono service or participated in a pro bono program within the state.  Nominees are evaluated based on pro bono service donated during the previous year including, but not limited, to the number of clients served, number of hours contributed, impact of the service on clients, and/or the impact of the service on a pro bono program or community.

Historically, the Association presents an award to an attorney from each of the thirteen Judicial Districts.  Judicial District honorees are selected based on the county where their pro bono services are rendered.  An award also is bestowed upon a “young lawyer,” defined as “an attorney who is not yet 37 years of age, or anyone, regardless of age, who has been admitted less than 10 years.”  Awards also are presented to an outstanding law student and a law school group whose pro bono involvement has made a substantial difference in the lives of the clients’ served.

Recognizing the vast disparity in the size of law firms across our state, the Association created three distinct categories of law firm awards: a Small Law Firm - defined as an office employing two to 49 attorneys; a Mid-sized Law Firm - an office employing 50 to 200 attorneys; and a Large Law Firm – an office employing 201 or more attorneys.   Nominees in these categories are evaluated based on the breadth and scope of the law firm’s pro bono involvement and its active and successful promotion of pro bono service by firm attorneys.

The In-House Counsel or Government Office award recognizes an attorney who has rendered outstanding pro bono service while serving as an in-house counsel, public service or government attorney.  Nominees in this category may be an individual attorney, an office or team of attorneys.   A total of two awards may be presented in this category.

The highly competitive Senior Attorney award recognizes a senior Attorney, aged 65 or older, who has demonstrated a commitment to the ideal of equal access to justice for New Yorkers of limited financial means. The Senior Attorney nominee must not be actively engaged in the full-time compensated practice of law.  Recognizing that more and more attorneys are delaying their retirement from the practice of law, this award is intended to pay tribute to an emeritus attorney who has chosen to re-dedicate his legal acumen to pro bono cases and causes.

Nominators are strongly encouraged to submit a detailed statement describing why their nominee should be recognized. In addition, up to three letters in support of a nomination may be submitted. The entire nominations packet should not exceed 10 pages.

For more information about the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards, please contact the Department of Pro Bono Services at 518-487-5641.   

Nomination Form

Previous Honorees

2019 President's Pro Bono Service Award Winner

2018 President's Pro Bono Service Award Winners

2017 President's Pro Bono Service awards Program

2016 President's Pro Bono Service Awards
List of honorees 1990-2015

1990-2014 Honoree Posters