New York State Bar Association and Baton Rouge Bar Foundation Honored With 2012 ABA Partnership Awards

CHICAGO, August 1, 2012—The _ Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services has chosen to honor the New York State Bar Association and the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation with the 2012 ABA Partnership Awards for their substantial and innovative efforts to advance diversity in their organizations and surrounding legal communities. The winners will receive the award at the association’s Annual Meeting joint luncheon of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, National Association of Bar Executives and the National Conference of Bar Foundations on Friday, Aug. 3, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The awards program is co-sponsored by the National Native _, National Asian Pacific _, Hispanic National Bar Association and the National Bar Association, and is implemented by the ABA Division for Bar Services.

Established as an organization dedicated to public service and pro bono assistance, the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation has developed several initiatives that focus on legal education for youth and young adults. Its Youth Education Initiative programs include Lawyer in the Classroom, Junior Partners Academy, Teen Court of Great Baton Rouge, Law Day and Mock Trial. Targeting Baton Rouge’s most impoverished and poorest performing districts, activities within the programs consist of law-related presentations, individuals acting as court volunteers to their peers, sponsored field trips to bar luncheons, high school team competitions and leadership building exercises. Through these experiences, students gain repeated exposure to a diverse group of positive role models and are given the knowledge and tools to assume civic responsibility.

In its own efforts to promote widespread diversity and inclusiveness in the legal field, the New York State Bar Association ran a campaign in 2011, headed by President Vincent E. Doyle III, titled President’s Section Diversity Challenge. A Diversity Challenge Planning Committee developed tactics for implementation, but allowed each of the sections to develop their own, individual goals that were attainable and would gain support from the section members. This was the first organization-wide NYSBA program of its kind to actively involve sections during the course of a presidential term.

The challenge concluded at the 2012 Section Leaders Conference with several developments such as “Strength by Association,” a series of educational programs with prominent minority and female jurists and attorneys, as well as mentoring programs and leadership development. “Diversity Vision Statements” were adopted within the sections’ bylaws as well as an addition of diversity seats on section Executive Committees.  Internship and Fellowship programs were established and expanded, allowing minority attorneys and law students to gain experience in local law offices. Support also extended to the LGBT community with the establishment and expansion of LGBT committees within the sections.         

This year’s program submissions are available on the ABA Division for Bar Service’s webpage at www.americanbar.org/barserv.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Media Contact: Kira Baltutis (312-988-5998 or