ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) continued its 30-year tradition of honoring lawyers, law firms, a law student and a civil justice group that have provided extraordinary pro bono service to those in need at a ceremony and luncheon on May 1 at the Bar Center in Albany.
NYSBA President Michael Miller presided over the 2019 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards ceremony, which is held each year on Law Day, which is observed across the country with programs focused on education about and celebration of the rule of law.
“Each year on Law Day, we honor those whose pro bono work has helped hundreds of people in meaningful, sometimes life-altering ways,” Miller said in a news release.
“It is fitting because, at its heart, Law Day is about the public good and public service. This is the oath we took when we became lawyers; it is our sacred trust,” Miller added.
Highlights of the luncheon included a keynote address by New York State Court of Appeals Associate Judge Paul Feinman and presentation of the award for Attorney Professionalism to Peter Strauss, senior counsel at Pierro, Connor & Strauss LLC. The award is given by NYSBA’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism, officials said.
According to the release, Strauss is known as one of the pioneers of elder law and an innovative thinker who helped develop the theory that a spouse’s right to support can prevail over the state’s right to reimbursement for nursing home care. He is codirector and founder of the New York Law School Elder Law Clinic, cofounder of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers.
Sharon Couch DeBonis, a solo practitioner in Troy, volunteers at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Attorney for a Day program, assisting first-appearance clients at Albany City Court and mentoring and teaching new attorney volunteers. DeBonis serves the 3rd Judicial District, which encompasses Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
Amanda Rose, a solo practitioner in Mayfield, staffs the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s pro se divorce clinics in Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties. Rose serves the 4th Judicial District, which encompasses Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties
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.
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