American Bar Association Honors Jay Zainey with 2011 Pro Bono Publico Award for Outstanding Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2011 — U.S. District Court Judge Jay Zainey will be recognized with one of five 2011 Pro Bono Publico Awards from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.
Zainey, who has spent his professional and personal life aspiring to the ideal “We are responsible to each other,” founded the H.E.L.P program (Homeless Experience Legal Protection) to provide pro bono legal services to the homeless community in New Orleans in 2004. He will receive his award at noon on Aug. 8 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto.
“The difference between good and great lawyers is that great ones make a difference in society. That’s fundamentally what pro bono does. It is crucial to taking on this country’s appalling lack of access to justice, without which there is no rule of law,” said ABA President Stephen N. Zack. “These awardees represent the best of our profession. This award appropriately honors their work,” he continued.
President Zack will present the 2011 awards. The keynote speaker for the luncheon is David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
The Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged.
Working with a local shelter, H.E.L.P establishes a regularly scheduled clinic so that volunteer lawyers from firms around the city can offer free legal services to homeless individuals. As a result of the program’s success and Zainey’s commitment to promoting the model, H.E.L.P has since expanded to 19 other cities and has more than 450 participating attorneys. Zainey personally traveled to each city to start the programs, met with the staff of the homeless shelters and with the volunteer lawyers and provided free CLE seminars to the lawyers so that they could be effective legal advocates. As a result of the H.E.L.P program, hundreds of lawyers have volunteered their time and talents throughout the year on a weekly rotating basis to serve the homeless.
As president of the Louisiana Bar Association, Zainey directed his leadership towards the expansion of private attorney involvement in pro bono to support access to justice. He also created one of the first state bar association committees in the nation to provide legal referral services for the disabled and created the Community Involvement Committee.
Zainey is currently an officer of the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans and is the recipient of numerous awards for his pro bono efforts and his work on behalf of the homeless.
In addition to his pro bono initiatives, Zainey has spearheaded a number of initiatives in New Orleans geared toward improving the community including SOLACE, a program through which members of the legal community can reach out and assist each other in times of need or loss. He has also created social service programs for the less fortunate.
More information on the Pro Bono Publico Awards and the 2011 recipients is available here.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association 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.
- 30 -