Chief Judge Lippman Presents 2009 Pro Bono Awards
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (second from the right) addressed the 2009 Pro Bono Awards and Law Firm Recognition Ceremony and presented the awards. With Chief Judge Lippman are (from left) Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief; Alan Levine, Chairman of the Society and Presiding Partner of the New York office of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP; Herman H. Raspe, Deputy Managing Partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; Lisa E. Cleary, a partner and head of the Pro Bono Committee at the firm; and Blaine (Fin) Fogg, Of Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and President of the Society. Mr. Raspe and Ms. Cleary hold the Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman presented awards to 48 law firms, three corporations and approximately 300 lawyers during The Legal Aid Society's 2009 Pro Bono Awards and Law Firm Recognition ceremony at Espace on October 26, 2009.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP received the Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award for its exceptional pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. The firm has expanded its pro bono commitment by serving as co-counsel on four major class action reform cases in the areas of subsidized housing for low-income tenants, public assistance benefits for low-income families, health and safety concerns of children in residential treatment centers and mental health issues of children in foster care. The firm has also handled a large number of individual cases in a variety of civil legal matters and participated in community outreach and education efforts in the Civil Practice.

For more than 130 years, the major New York City law firms have served as partners with The Legal Aid Society in securing the fundamental legal rights of low-income New Yorkers in critical need of counsel but unable to afford it. The Legal Aid Society’s 2009 Pro Bono Awards and Law Firm Recognition Ceremony epitomizes the enduring strength of this partnership, delivering life-changing legal assistance to our City’s most vulnerable residents—homeless and imminently homeless children and adults, immigrants, senior citizens, unemployed and low-wage workers, chronically ill children and adults, survivors of domestic violence, neglected or abused children, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and inmates in the jails on Rikers Island and prisoners in correctional facilities throughout the State of New York.

Last year, more than 2,000 attorneys and paralegals - primarily from New York's leading law firms and corporate law departments - handled 2,200 matters on behalf of our clients. Pro bono work ranged from complex litigation to staffing an immigration hotline. Many of these matters are part of a law firm project in which the firm, under partner leadership, staffs a number of cases annually. Other cases are placed with firms through regular case list distributionSociety staff members meet with firms to discuss developing a customized pro bono project or individual case referrals.

View photos from this event