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April 14, 2023

Three distinguished lawyers to be honored at Criminal Justice Section Spring Meeting

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2023 — A legal ethics expert, a juvenile defender advocate and a special counsel for restorative juvenile justice will be honored for their contributions to the legal profession during the American Bar Association 2023 Criminal Justice Spring Meeting, on Friday, April 21, at The Peabody Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2022 awards will be presented to honorees during a luncheon ceremony from 12:30-2 p.m. EDT in the Forest Room.

The honorees are:

The Charles R. English Award

Ellen Yaroshefsky is the recipient of the Charles R. English Award, which is given to judges, prosecutors, the defense bar, academics and other attorneys who are members of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and have distinguished themselves by their work in the field of criminal justice.

Yaroshefsky is the Howard Lichtenstein Professor of Legal Ethics and director of the Monroe Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. She teaches ethics courses and criminal procedure, organizes symposia, and writes and lectures in the field of legal ethics with a concentration on issues in the criminal justice system. From 1994-2015, she was the director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center in the Practice of Law at Cardozo School of Law and the director of the Cardozo trial advocacy program. She is co-chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and former co-chair of the Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism Committee of the ABA Criminal Justice Section. She serves on the ABA Criminal Justice Section Council and is the ethics counsel to the Innocence Project and serves as an expert witness. Prior to her career in academia, Yaroshefsky was an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, a public defender at the Seattle-King County Public Defender Association and in private practice.

Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award

Aleksandra Chauhan is the recipient of the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award, which is given to an active member of the bar who devotes a significant portion of their legal practice to youth and children and is making positive contributions to the field both in and outside the courtroom.

As juvenile defender advocate for the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, Chauhan focuses on South Carolina juvenile justice data collection, training and support of juvenile defense attorneys in the state. Previously, she was an assistant public defender in Richland County, S.C. In 2015-2016, she obtained two federal grants to open a Youth Reentry Program at the Public Defender’s Office, which focused on holistic representation of youth. Chauhan received her Ph.D. and J.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina and USC School of Law, respectively. She is on the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Children’s Rights and Every Black Girl, Inc., and the advisory committee of the Gault Center South. She chairs the Legal Innovations Subcommittee for the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force and is a member of the South Carolina Bar House of Delegates. Chauhan was recognized as a 2017 Juvenile Public Defender of the Year. She is a 2019 South Carolina BAR Leadership Academy graduate and a 2020 Georgetown Law School Ambassador for Racial Justice.

Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award

Seema Gajwani is the recipient of the Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award, which is given to an attorney or legal service provider (including organizations) who has either directly represented specific victims in criminal, juvenile or appellate courts or who have worked to promote or implement policies to improve the treatment of crime victims in the criminal justice system.

Gajwani is special counsel for juvenile justice reform and chief of the Restorative Justice Program Section at the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. Prior to this position, she ran the Criminal Justice Program at the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C., funding efforts to improve criminal and juvenile justice systems across the country, with a focus on pretrial detention reform and prosecutorial culture change. Gajwani started her career as a trial attorney at the D.C. Public Defender Service, representing juvenile and adult defendants for six years. She was chosen as a 2019 Obama Fellow for her work on restorative justice.

The ABA is the 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.