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      Onondaga County Bar Assn honored for legal services to poor

      The Onondaga County Bar Association's outreach effort to help the poor with legal services has gotten recognition from the American Bar Association. It's the only local group in the country to receive this year's ABA Harrison Tweed Award, for increasing access to civil legal services for poor persons.

      The Volunteer Lawyers Project her assists over 15-hundred clients a year in areas like eviction and housing law, uncontested divorces, immigration and family law. Sally Curran, the VLP executive director, says the work is done by over two hundred volunteer lawyers who meet their clients in community centers, churches, local courts and more.

      VLP is also expanding. This past year it began providing legal support for the Syracuse Schools' 'Say Yes to Education, aimed at helping students succeed in the classroom with a more stable home life. There is also a new immigration clinic and increased LGBT legal offerings.

      The program has been running for over 20 years, but is now branching out from the bar association to become its own 501c3 not for profit.

      There's more information on the Onondaga County Bar Association website or at 471-2667.