(Mineola, NY) – For the second year in a row, the Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA), the largest suburban bar in the country, has won statewide recognition for its leadership and foresight, this time for its creative BOLD Initiative, which incorporates foreign languages into NCBA’s community outreach to better serve the increasingly diverse Nassau County population whose primary language is not English. The 2010 NYS Conference of Bar Leaders Innovation Award, formerly known as the Award of Merit, recognizes how bar associations adapt to the needs of their members and the community at large by introducing new programs, ideas and methodologies that benefit everyone involved, as well as new activities and projects that promote the public good, public understanding of the law and the professional responsibilities of attorneys. Judging is based on ingenuity and creativity in planning the project, overall quality of the execution, and the effect of the project on the bar and/or the public.
The award was presented last month at the NYS Bar Association’s Annual Conference by the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders, composed of the leadership of bar associations across the state. Accepting the award were BOLD Task Force Co-Chairs Linda Nanos (Bellmore) and Howard Brill (Syosset), along with other key coordinators and supporters of the project including NCBA President Marc Gann (Massapequa), NCBA Past Presidents Emily F. Franchina (Huntington Bay) and A. Thomas Levin, NCBA Executive Director Dr. Deena Ehrlich (Jericho), NCBA President Elect Susan Katz Richman (Merrick), NCBA 1st Vice President Marian Rice (Center Moriches), NCBA BOLD member Hon. Elizabeth Pessala (Acting Village Justice Westbury), NCBA Administrator for Community Relations and Public Education Caryle Katz (Oceanside), and NCBA Director of Marketing and Public Relations Valerie Zurblis (Huntington).
BOLD (Bridge Over Language Divides) aims to more effectively service the nearly 20% of Nassau County residents who speak a language other than English. NCBA has drawn on attorneys in its 6,000 membership who are fluent in 39 languages, including Spanish, Russian, Korean, Urdu, Chinese, Creole, Tagalog, Pashto and Igbo. In the past year, a telephone foreign language translation service was added to the Bar, attorneys fluent in foreign languages were incorporated into the monthly Mortgage Foreclosure and Senior Citizen legal consultation clinics, US Citizenship interview demonstrations were held, and for the first time, foreign consuls from 8 countries came to the Nassau Bar Association to learn more relating to the arrest of foreign nationals. In addition, BOLD was able to quickly mobilize after the devastating earthquake in Haiti to offer seminars in Haitian Creole on Temporary Protected Status.
“The BOLD Initiative has created an awareness of the untapped resources at the Bar and underscored all the Bar offers for our members and the community,” said NCBA President Marc Gann. “Through BOLD, the NCBA is strengthening its reputation as a place where all citizens can gain an understanding of legal issues that are often complicated but that affect their lives – now in their native tongue.”
This is the fifth time NCBA has been recognized by the NYS Bar Association with its top award in the Large Bar (2000+ members) category. Last year, NCBA was acknowledged for its groundbreaking Mortgage Foreclosure Pro Bono Project and free monthly legal consultation clinics. In previous years NCBA won for its innovative public education program, “Murder in the Library”; the extensive attorney-student mentoring program for at-risk middle school students, and the creation of the WE CARE Fund which provides thousands of dollars each year to the community’s neediest residents.
BOLD’s enthusiastic Task Force is far from resting on its past accomplishments. On April 5 BOLD will again partner with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services to present a third Citizenship Interview Demonstration program to help citizenship applicants prepare for their own interview and citizenship exam. The Task Force is also following up with foreign consuls to set up meetings at the consulate offices to provide them with resources for legal information and guidance. In the fall, the attorneys will present a seminar for the many organizations, churches and community groups that serve non-English speaking communities, to better inform them of the multi-lingual services available through the Bar Association.
For more information on the many services offered to the public by the Nassau County Bar Association, go to www.nassaubar.org or call 516-747-4070.
About the Nassau County Bar Association
Founded in 1899, the Nassau County Bar Association, with a membership of nearly 6,000 private and public attorneys, judges, legal educators and law students, is the largest suburban bar association in the country. NCBA demonstrates its commitment to the community by offering a variety of services for the public, including lawyer referral services, senior citizen and mortgage foreclosure clinics, judicial screening, public education programs and support for the Volunteer Lawyers Project, which provides much-needed free legal services for the indigent of Nassau County. For more information, call (516) 747-4070 (Language Line available), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nassaubar.org.