August 25, 2017 Dialogue

Harrison Tweed Award


Pictured are the Hon. Lora Livingston, Chair of the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, David Hallinan, Executive Director o the Essex County Bar Association, Inc. (accepting the Award) and April Frazier-Camara, National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Essex County Bar Association Advocates, Inc. Receives 2017 Harrison Tweed Award

The Essex County Bar Association Advocates, Inc. (ECBAA) was presented with the 2017 Harrison Tweed Award during the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City for the exceptional criminal and delinquency defense representation that its members provide to people living in poverty. This award, created in 1956, recognizes the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services for those living in poverty or criminal defense services for indigents. Named for a leader in the promotion of free legal services to those living in poverty, the Harrison Tweed Award is co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLIAD) and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

The ECBAA was founded over 50 years ago for the sole purpose of providing criminal and delinquency defense representation to the poor in Essex County, Massachusetts. Its 200 members provide counsel at first appearance and vertical representation in all delinquency, misdemeanor and felony charges other than murder to indigent defendants in the courts of Essex County.

The ECBAA provides extensive training and mentoring to attorneys who are new to the program. This includes receiving assistance in interviewing clients and visiting crime scenes, as well as having an experienced attorney second chair evidentiary hearings. All attorneys are required to attend 12 live CLE events each year organized by the ECBAA and supported by the statewide public defender agency, the Committee for Public Counsel Service. As a result of the training and mentoring that is provided, clients receive excellent representation. As the Presiding Judge of the Lynn District Court stated in describing these attorneys: "(they) are the unsung heroes of the profession: they do difficult and necessary work, at less than optimum remuneration, under less than optimum conditions, and do it extraordinary well every single day."