The New York State Bar Association and The Iowa State Bar Association will be honored with the 2021 Harrison Tweed Award next month for their work to boost legal services for the underserved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award will be presented at the virtual business meeting of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID) on Friday, Aug. 6, during the 2021 ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting. The virtual and in-person meeting at the Hyatt Regency Chicago begins Aug. 4 and concludes Aug. 10 following the meeting of the ABA House of Delegates.
The Harrison Tweed Award was created in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents. The award is named for the late Harrison Tweed, a leader in the promotion of free legal services to the poor, and presented annually by SCLAID and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, a nonprofit association devoted to the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel.
Both bar associations were selected for their exemplary work in responding to legal needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York bar group helped coordinate and lead the state’s legal community response to the pandemic by bringing together attorneys from law firms, the judiciary, corporations and law schools to identify existing resources, areas of need and ways to ensure New Yorkers obtained necessary pro bono civil legal assistance.
The Iowa bar group, in partnership with Iowa Legal Aid and the Polk County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Project, developed a free legal hotline for individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19, providing a source of information and legal assistance to Iowans and addressing a wide array of legal needs arising out of the pandemic.