Law students who helped hundreds of veterans with their legal matters and a law firm that donated nearly 22,000 hours of pro bono services are among the 18 winners of the New York State Bar Association’s 2014 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.
The awards were presented at a Law Day luncheon Wednesday at the State Bar Center in Albany. State bar President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody LLP), as well as President-elect Glenn Lau-Kee of Manhattan (Kee & Lau-Kee) and George H. Lowe of Syracuse (Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC), co-chairs of the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, presided.
“Pro bono service is one of the proudest traditions of the legal profession,” Schraver said. “Each year, attorneys give generously of themselves to change someone’s life for the better. We are pleased to recognize an outstanding group of recipients. They truly do the public good.”
In addition to honoring attorneys representing 12 of New York’s 13 judicial districts, the awards are given to a lawyer practicing for less than 10 years or under the age of 36, a senior lawyer, a large law firm, small law firm, a law school group and a law student.
Regional winners include:
• Fifth Judicial District: Thomas E. Myers of Syracuse (Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC) coordinates his firm’s pro bono activities in the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County’s Eviction Defense Clinic. He also trains attorneys in eviction defense.
• Seventh Judicial District: Kevin Saunders of Rochester, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and an associate at Nixon Peabody, donated 136 hours of pro bono services in 2013. He and four veterans created the One Team, One Fight website, which addresses veterans’ employment, psychological and legal needs.
• Eighth Judicial District: Joshua Dubs of Buffalo donated 60 hours of pro bono work on 46 eviction defense cases, eight name changes, three wills and two tort defense cases through the Bar Association of Erie County’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. In the first quarter of 2014, he accepted an additional 20 eviction defense cases and a transgender name change case.
• Young Lawyer: Tracy Lynn Sullivan of Syracuse has a solo practice representing indigent defendants in local criminal courts in Onondaga County. She has volunteered more than 40 hours annually to the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County since 2011, while also voluntarily assisting Legal Services of Central New York for 25 hours per week.
• Senior Lawyer: Frank J. Longo of Kenmore has volunteered with the BAEC’s Volunteer Lawyers Project since 2012. He donated more than 60 hours of services for five cases in 2013, mostly handling non-parent petitions for custody or visitation in Family Court.
• Small Law Firm: The Rochester law firm of Ashcraft, Franklin, Young & Peters, LLP has volunteered with the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County since 2004. Attorney Sarah Ashcraft has assisted indigent clients in abusive relationships. Gregory Franklin represents indigent clients needing legal assistance with adoptions.
A complete list of winners may be found on the bar association’s website at www.nysba.org.