2009 Recipient

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient(s) name: 
Ann Lever
Recipient organization: 
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
Recipient organization city: 
St. Louis
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

After 30 years of service as a civil legal aid attorney at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM), Ann B. Lever retired on September 4th of this year. Lever’s history as an innovative litigator put her at the forefront in preserving low-income housing, enforcing fair housing laws and helping clients gain access to health care, education, public benefits and immigration benefits.  Her extraordinary commitment to her clients in whose name action was brought has impacted thousands of individuals inside and outside the eastern Missouri legal community. 

Lever’s legal achievements began while interning at LSEM in 1978, when she drafted legislation that provided for court-issued Orders of Protection prohibiting persons from abusing another with whom they live; allowed the abuser to be excluded from the home; and permitted the court to address financial support issues.  The proposed legislation became law in 1980 giving Missourians access to legal protection from domestic violence for the first time.

For the next 30 years, Lever’s legal achievements on behalf of low-income individuals continued to grow.  In 1989, Lever successfully demonstrated that the restrictions on coverage for the drug Retrovir (AZT) violated federal law by denying medically necessary treatment.  Thousands of lives were prolonged as a result of her success.  In 2006, Lever led an effort to file an Administrative Procedures Act Claim with the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, successfully challenging the government’s withholding of decisions on naturalization for 50 Bosnian refugees.