Annual Conference Awards

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for one of NLADA's awards. Nominations are now closed. Winners will be announced shortly. Be sure to attend the 2017 Awards Luncheon on Friday, December 8, 2017, to join us in honoring these heroes of equal justice!

Award Descriptions

Emery A. Brownell Award

The Emery A. Brownell Award gives national recognition to newspapers, magazines, online/digital publications, filmmakers, and television and radio stations that have informed the public about the crucial role played by civil legal aid or defender organizations in advancing equal justice for those who cannot afford counsel. This award is named for Emery Brownell, who served as NLADA’s executive director from 1940 until his death in 1961.

Mary Ellen Hamilton Award

The Mary Ellen Hamilton Award honors a legal services client or low-income community leader who, on a compensated or volunteer basis, has provided extraordinary support to the delivery of legal assistance to low-income people, to increase involvement of low-income people in the fight for equal justice, or to enhance the involvement of low-income people in their cases. The award commemorates Mary Ellen Hamilton, one of the founders of the National Clients Council and the Alliance for Legal Rights, who served on NLADA’s Board of Directors and remained an active Alliance member until her death in 1985.

New Leaders in Advocacy Award

The New Leaders in Advocacy Award honors rising attorneys who exhibit extraordinary leadership early in their careers as civil legal aid or indigent defense advocates. Recipients will also be invited to participate in NLADA’s Beacon of Justice selection process in the following year.

Charles Dorsey Award

The Charles Dorsey Award honors an individual who has provided extraordinary and dedicated leadership to both the equal justice community and to organizations that promote access to justice for low-income people. This award is for a leader of a national or statewide organization, who does not have to be an attorney, in civil legal aid. The award celebrates the accomplishments of the longtime executive director of the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, whose many national leadership roles included service as chair of the Project Advisory Group and as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.

Clara Shortridge Foltz Award

The Clara Shortridge Foltz Award commends a public defender program or public defense delivery system for outstanding achievement in the provision of services to indigent defendants. The award, co-sponsored by NLADA and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, is named for a founder of the nation’s public defender system.

Reginald Heber Smith Award

The Reginald Heber Smith Award recognizes the dedicated service and outstanding achievements of a civil legal aid or indigent defense attorney while employed by an organization supporting such services. This award is for an attorney, either civil or defender, who provides direct services to clients. The “Reggie” is named for a former counsel at the Boston Legal Aid Society who was author of Justice and the Poor, published by the Carnegie Foundation in 1919.


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