(L to R): NYLAG President & Attorney in Charge, Yisroel Schulman; NYSBA President Seymour W. James, Jr; Chief Judge of the State of New York, Jonathan Lippman; NYSBA President-Elect, David M. Schrager.

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) was honored with the New York State Bar Association’s 2012 Denison Ray Nonprofit Organization Award at the Legal Assistance Partnership Conference in Albany on September 13. Sponsored by the Bar Association’s Department of Pro Bono Affairs, the prestigious award recognizes a nonprofit organization that provides civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients, with an emphasis on quality, innovation, and the ability to forge partnerships to enhance and expand justice opportunities.

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York, delivered the keynote address to a packed ballroom of several hundred legal services advocates from across the State. In his speech, he stated, “Nothing could be more important to me, as Chief Judge, than civil legal services for the poor, the working poor, and low-income New Yorkers.” Last year, NYLAG’s staff of more than 100 paid legal professionals and 800 volunteers served over 50,000 vulnerable individuals. The Bar Association paid particular tribute to NYLAG’s new Mobile Legal Help Center, an innovative project launched in 2012 in partnership with the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program to deliver legal services and court access to underserved populations.

The Denison Ray Awards were named for Denison Ray, an advocate for the indigent who led legal services programs in New York and other states for more than 30 years.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000 member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar’s programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.