2014 Recipients

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Where presented : 
Exemplar Award Dinner
Recipient(s) name: 
Ellen Katz, William E. Morris Institute for Justice, and Edward Ungvarsky, Office of the Capital Defender for Northern Virginia
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Ellen Katz is honored for more than 34 years of extraordinary public service on behalf of America’s most at-risk populations. With awe-inspiring passion, Ellen has dedicated her entire career to changing the justice system to promote access and opportunity for all.

Since 2003, Ellen has worked for the William E. Morris Institute for Justice in Phoenix, Arizona, a non-profit public interest program whose mission is to protect the rights of low-income individuals. Numerous statewide improvements have resulted from her active representation, including the expansion of language access services in all courts, increased access to Medicaid, and the implementation of fee waiver and deferral court policies for low-income Arizonans. She has also engaged in effective administrative advocacy and litigation in areas such as landlord-tenant law, unemployment insurance, public benefits, domestic relations and more.

Despite operating in often challenging conditions, Ellen consistently tackles those issues affecting the largest number of low-income people. She works tirelessly, persistently, and effectively, to empower people and give them a voice. Through incredible resourcefulness and determined advocacy, Ellen has personally affected systemic change, ensuring needed services for so many individuals experiencing hardship while significantly improving their life outcomes.