June 02, 2021

ABA honors 2021 recipients for government and public sector service

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 —The establishment of the first formalized tribal holistic defense model in the nation,  court help centers to address barriers to justice, pandemic-related reforms to the civil justice system and legal professionalism are the areas recognized by the American Bar Association Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPSLD) for  the recipients of its 2021 Dorsey, Hodson and Nelson Awards. The annual awards are for outstanding work in the government and public sector.

The Dorsey Award honors an outstanding public defender or legal aid lawyer. The Hodson Award recognizes an exceptional government or public sector law office. The Nelson Award  recognizes the superior, sustained contributions to the ABA by an individual government or public sector lawyer.

“Public lawyers work hard every day to improve our communities and ensure that our governments function effectively,” said Steve Vieux, chair of the ABA Government & Public Sector Lawyers Division. “ We are proud to highlight the outstanding achievements of our national award winners, lawyers who exemplify public service at its finest.”

This year’s honorees are:

The 2021 Dorsey Award recipient

Ann Marie Miller, managing attorney, Tribal Defenders Office, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation worked with the Center for Holistic Defense and the Bronx Defenders to develop and implement the first formalized tribal holistic defense model in the nation. Understanding that traditional tribal justice systems tend to view problems in their entirety and engage the community in their solutions, Miller implemented holistic defense services such as cultural mentoring, driver’s license restoration assistance, civil pro se clinics, a sobriety support group, Salish language classes, and community service projects for clients to work off fines. She also worked with Tribal Defenders Office psychologists to develop the only case management tool that measures resiliency factors and level of risk to reoffend for a Native American population. In addition, Miller created the Flathead Reservation Re‐Entry Program to provide interdisciplinary, supportive services to people returning from incarceration which significantly reduced recidivism rates.

The 2021 Hodson Award recipients

The Access to Justice Department of the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts, develops innovative tools, resources, and programs to address barriers to justice. The office created Maryland Court Help Centers that include walk-in centers located directly in courthouses, a statewide call center, high quality close-captioned videos on Maryland specific legal topics with transcripts in English and Spanish, and an app that allows people to chat directly with an attorney at the Maryland Court Help Center. To assist limited English speakers’ access to justice, the office recruits and trains interpreters, provides statewide interpreter management software, and translations of court forms in Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

The Maryland Office of the Attorney General spearheaded and led a high-level COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force to implement reforms in the civil justice system. The task force delivered $11.7 million in emergency funding to the Maryland Legal Services Corporation; worked with the governor, judiciary, state agencies and the philanthropic community to advocate for civil legal aid funding, housing assistance, and other immediate reforms; and created a substantive law handbook and resource manual for life and health planning during the COVID-19 crisis.

The 2021 Nelson Award recipient

Tara Isa Koslov, deputy director, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, has worked for 24 years to advance the ABA’s mission to promote professionalism, increase members’ professional growth, and ensure full participation in the profession by all persons. Serving in Antitrust Law Section leadership positions, Koslov worked to institutionalize the Antitrust Law Journal’s high standards as a longtime editor. As a member of the Antitrust Law Section’s Long Range Planning Committee, she identified and developed strategic proposals, including solutions to address long-term financial and governance challenges. Koslov also shares her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for antitrust and consumer protection law with law students and coaches younger lawyers via the Section's “Pathways to Leadership” program.

The GPSLD’s National Awards are designed to recognize the extraordinary achievements of government lawyers and to inform the general public about the outstanding work performed and the positive impact made by our nation’s public lawyers. Winners are selected on the basis of their professional accomplishments and their role in ensuring access to justice.

The 7,437-member ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division provides programs, publications, and online resources specifically designed for government, public sector and military lawyers, as well as interested law students.

The ABA is largest voluntary association of lawyers 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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.