2010 Recipients

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Where presented : 
Exemplar Award Dinner
Recipient(s) name: 
Alan Alop, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and J. McGregor Smyth, The Bronx Defenders
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Alan Alop is the deputy director for Intake Offices, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago in Chicago, IL. Alop has made advocating for and representing low income people his life’s work. He began his career litigating statewide
welfare class actions in Florida. Shortly thereafter, he began to specialize in consumer law cases that targeted low-income families. Most recently, with healthcare in a state of both crisis and reform, Alop went to work assisting uninsured indigent patients who were being charged double or triple what insured patients were charged. Alop collaborated with labor unions and media to highlight the injustice. Taking what he learned from his work, he developed a nearly 300-page primer for legal aid attorneys with clients facing the same daunting challenges. Alop continues to intervene on behalf of victims of consumer fraud and abusive collection tactics. 

“Alan is a consummate collaborator, always willing to share his expertise and never looking to be in the limelight. Sometimes, however, the limelight finds him … In short, Alan is a quiet, honest, steadfast, good-humored hero of the legal services movement,” stated nominator Diana C. White, executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. “His 39-year-long career deserves our highest recognition and thanks.” 

J. McGregor Smyth Jr. first joined The Bronx Defenders in 2000 as a Skadden Fellow. As part of his fellowship, Smyth brought to The Bronx Defenders a project designed to address the collateral consequences clients endure as the result of an arrest. The combination of his skills and expertise as a civil attorney with those of his criminal defense colleagues soon proved to be a winning combination, allowing for the successful reentry of people coming from the criminal justice system into Bronx communities. Such holistic representation helped to address the gap in legal services that people need to cope with the aftermath of criminal proceedings and helped to mitigate the damaging collateral consequences families endure when a loved one becomes entangled in the criminal justice system. Smyth has also dedicated his career to working on behalf of people who find themselves the victims of unjust evictions and wrongful arrests. He has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of the marginalized and to secure critical settlements on behalf of his clients.

“McGregor’s compassion and dedication to our clients is irrefutable, and his commitment to enhancing the legal services available to low-income communities is steadfast. He fluidly transitions from working on the theoretical aspects of his practice to listening and talking to individual clients,” stated nominator Robin G. Steinberg, executive director of The Bronx Defenders. 

“Whether he is working to prevent the eviction of a whole family from public housing, crafting and executing a pitch to a skeptical funder, or fighting for the civil rights of thousands in a class action, McGregor works tirelessly to prevent injustice."