September 16, 2014
Winnie Martin, Harris, O’Brien, Antos, Karen Murtagh, President Glenn Lau-Kee [Photo by Harvey Vlahos]
For their dedication in helping low-income New Yorkers gain access to quality legal services, three attorneys and a nonprofit organization have been honored with the Denison Ray Awards, given by the Committee on Legal Aid of the New York State Bar Association.
“Thousands of New Yorkers received access to justice because of the skilled and zealous representation of this year’s Denison Ray Award recipients. They strengthen our communities and improve confidence in the justice system,” said State Bar President Glenn Lau-Kee of New York City (Kee & Lau-Kee). “It is a privilege to recognize their hard work and commitment to the poor.”
The awards were presented September 11 during the 2014 Legal Assistance Partnership Conference.
Recipients of this year’s Denison Ray Awards are:
Susan C. Antos of Albany, Civil Legal Services Individual Attorney Award: Antos, senior staff attorney of the Empire Justice Center, was cited for her efforts to help low-income families access public benefits, including food stamps, child care and child support. She was counsel in Doe v Doar, a statewide class action that restored public assistance benefits to 27,000 households containing children and disabled family members.
Lori M. O’Brien of Rochester, Civil Legal Services Individual Attorney Award: O’Brien, supervising attorney of Legal Assistance of Western NY, was recognized for developing a community partnership to address the legal and non-legal needs of Rochester’s low-income communities. As a result of her work, more at-risk clients were able to connect directly with attorneys for their legal matters.
Alan S. Harris of Rochester, Legal Services Program Director Award: Harris is the president and chief executive officer of the Legal Aid Society of Rochester. Under his leadership, the organization developed specialized programs in domestic violence, housing, Hispanic outreach and immigration. The Legal Aid Society has represented more than 200,000 people who otherwise might have gone unrepresented during the 24 years that Harris had led the organization.
Prisoners ‘ Legal Services of New York of Albany, Nonprofit Organization Award: Consisting of twelve attorneys in four offices across the state, Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) provides legal representation, assistance and advocacy to indigent prisoners housed in New York state Correctional Facilities. Since 2012, PLS has implemented the Pro Bono Partnership Program, which has increased the availability of counsel for the incarcerated.
The Denison Ray Awards were named for the late Denison Ray, the former executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. He died in 1994.
The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
To hear Karen Murtagh’s acceptance speech, please visit our Facebook page.