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PRO BONO PROGRAM EARNS RECOGNITION FOR O’CONNELL AND ARONOWITZ

  • Oct 23 2014

Kurt_20Bratten-2O’Connell and Aronowitz earned two honors this month for its pro bono program and the services it provides to victims of domestic violence and others in the community. Partner Kurt Bratten represented the Firm accepting awards from both the Legal Services Corporation and The Legal Project of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association.

At an October 6 ceremony, O’Connell and Aronowitz joined six New York attorneys and 3 law firms as recipients of the Legal Services Corporation’s Pro Bono Service Award. Presented in recognition of extraordinary commitment to equal justice, the award was based on a nomination submitted by Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.  The event was held at the NYS Bar Association’s Law Center in conjunction with the Legal Services Corporation quarterly Board of Directors meeting.

On October 15, The Legal Project conferred its 2014 Swyer Companies Leadership Award on O’Connell and Aronowitz and the law firms sponsoring the organization’s Kathryn D. Katz Fellowship. The accolade commends a corporation or philanthropist whose generous support makes a significant difference in The Legal Project’s ability to serve the community.  The Katz Fellowship is an innovative program in collaboration with Albany Law School providing legal assistance to domestic violence victims.
“We take immense pride in being acknowledged along with the other participants of the Katz Fellowship,” commented Kurt Bratten, who accepted the award at The Legal Project’s award luncheon held at The Century House. “This is an important recognition of the good work we do here at O’Connell and Aronowitz.” Celebratory events continued with The Legal Project’s 19th Annual Pro Bono Reception held October 23rd at the Hart Theater Lounge at The Egg.
The Katz Fellowship, named in honor of a pioneering Albany Law School professor, is a new initiative of the Legal Project which strives to build a pipeline connecting the legal community to domestic violence victims in the Capital Region.  It offers a tripartite approach involving an in-house practical clinic, law student placements and two-year post-graduate paid fellowship.  The long-term goal is to introduce extensively trained new attorneys, with an understanding and appreciation for pro bono and public interest law, into the legal market.
“This wonderful support has made a tremendous difference in our program in terms of expanding the Fellowship and increasing our ability to meet the ever growing need for pro bono legal services for victims of domestic violence in the Capital District,” explains Lisa Frisch, Executive Director of The Legal Project.
“Victims of domestic violence need legal representation not just to protect their rights, but often to help them move forward with their lives without fear,” explains Kurt Bratten, who spearheads the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee which also includes Heidi Dennis, Jessica Zwicklbauer, Matt Dorsey and Will Berglund.
Last year, O’Connell and Aronowitz handled 34 pro bono cases providing more than 451 hours of pro bono service.  Acknowledging the dual pro bono honors, President Jeffrey J. Sherrin commented, “As a firm, we made a commitment to pro bono service, and as a firm, we are meeting and exceeding that commitment.”
O’Connell and Aronowitz is one of the Capital District’s largest and most diverse law firms. With 33 attorneys and offices in Albany, New York City, Plattsburgh and Saratoga, the Firm provides a broad range of legal services to businesses and individuals throughout the State. President Jeffrey J. Sherrin can be reached at (518) 462-5601 or by email jsherrin@oalaw.com. Kurt Bratten (kbratten@oalaw.com) can be reached at the same number. Visit us online at www.oalaw.com.

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