The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPSLD) has chosen the recipients of its 2020 Dorsey, Hodson and Nelson Awards. The annual awards are for outstanding work in the government and public sector.
The Dorsey Award honors an outstanding public defender or legal aid lawyer. The Hodson Award recognizes an exceptional government or public sector law office. The Nelson Award recognizes the superior, sustained contributions to the ABA by an individual government or public sector lawyer.
“During this challenging time, it’s important to honor public lawyers,” said Sharon Pandak, chair of the ABA’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. “Government attorneys, who work so hard to provide legal services to those in need, not only assist vulnerable individuals but their work promotes access to and confidence in our justice system. Public lawyers’ legal guidance to elected officials promotes the safety of our communities and, critically, ensures that our governments continue to function.”
The 2020 Dorsey Award recipient
Casey N. Payton is the supervising attorney for Legal Services of The Virgin Islands Inc. After hurricanes Irma and Maria, Payton led the mammoth effort to administer the disaster legal services program in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This involved mobilizing dozens of attorney volunteers to provide pro bono civil legal services to disaster survivors; serving as the central point of contact between the ABA, the Virgin Islands Bar, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and other stakeholders; establishing a disaster legal services hotline; and conducting extensive public outreach.
The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division’s National Awards are designed to recognize the extraordinary achievements of government lawyers and to inform the general public about the outstanding work performed and the positive impact made by our nation’s public lawyers. Winners are selected on the basis of their professional accomplishments and their role in ensuring access to 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.
Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.