The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) will receive the American Bar Association's 2005 Harrison Tweed Award in recognition of its programs to increase access to legal services for the poor, including adults and children in Family Court and indigent criminal defendants.
The Tweed Award was established in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs in this area.
The honor, given annually by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, will be presented during the ABA Annual Meeting on Friday, August 5 during a joint luncheon of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, National Association of Bar Executives and National Conference of Bar Foundations at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
NYSBA President A. Vincent Buzard of Rochester said: "The State Bar has long played an important leadership role in helping to maintain quality representation for indigent defendants. Our bar association was the first in the country to adopt these standards which will have a beneficial effect on the legal representation of indigent defendants. Receiving this national recognition validates our commitment to advocating on behalf of those who cannot afford private counsel."
NYSBA is being recognized for the work of its Special Committee to Ensure Quality of Mandated Representation chaired by Buffalo lawyer Vincent E. Doyle III, which created comprehensive standards to guarantee that the indigent, including criminal defendants and adults and children in Family Court, receive meaningful and effective representation.
The standards establish benchmarks to ensure quality in virtually every aspect of mandated representation, for example: independence of counsel, early entry of representation, client eligibility, qualification and training, workloads, performance and compensation.
This marks the second time in the last nine years the Association has been honored with this award.