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SRZ Receives Beacon of Justice Award

September 10, 2013

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has selected SRZ to receive its 2013 Beacon of Justice Award. NLADA honors law firms that have provided significant pro bono representation to secure the mandate of legal representation to the poor. Since 2007, SRZ has been co-counsel with lawyers at NYCLU in the action, which seeks systemic reform designed to cure widespread, ongoing violations that deny indigent criminal defendants their right to counsel as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions. To date, SRZ and the NYCLU have successfully defended against the State’s motion to dismiss the action, leading to a landmark ruling by the New York Court of Appeals; secured class certification; conducted extensive discovery; and filed a motion for partial summary judgment with regard to the State’s failure to provide counsel for indigent defendants at the critical stage of arraignment. Trial is set to begin in December 2013.

The SRZ team, led by litigation partners Gary Stein and Michael E. Swartz and special counsel Daniel L. Greenberg, and coordinated by Kristie M. Blase, has comprised dozens of lawyers from every practice area over the years and the members most actively involved currently include associate Amanda Jawad, paralegal Catherine Kim and our litigation support manager Mahlik Richard.