July 30, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession will honor Helaine M. Barnett, president of the Legal Services Corporation, during an awards ceremony luncheon on Aug. 2 during the ABA's Annual Meeting in Chicago.
LSC President Barnett is one of five women lawyers who will be honored with the 2009 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.
The Achievement Award, established in 1991, recognizes outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence and have helped others succeed in their work. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in America, according to the ABA.
Other honorees are Linda L. Addison, co-founder of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas; Arnette R. Hubbard, a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois; Vanessa Ruiz, a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and Loretta A. Tuell, a partner at an entirely Native American-owned law firm.
Helaine Barnett is the longest serving LSC president, now in her sixth year, and has devoted her entire career to providing legal services to the indigent. Under her leadership, LSC issued a groundbreaking report, "Documenting the Justice Gap in America," which found that half of eligible clients seeking assistance from LSC-funded programs are turned away because of a lack of resources. She also has emphasized strategies to enhance the quality of legal services provided by LSC-funded programs.
Before joining LSC, Helaine Barnett served for more than three decades as a lawyer providing legal services to the indigent at The Legal Aid Society of New York City, the oldest and largest legal aid organization in the country. In New York, she was involved in managing the Society's multi-office Civil Division, which she headed from 1994 to 2003.
Established by Congress 35 years ago, LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for the poor. LSC, which operates as a nonprofit corporation, provides federal funds to 137 independent nonprofit organizations with more than 900 offices in the United States and U.S. territories.