ALBANY, NY (02/07/2017) (readMedia)-- The New York State Bar Association is proud to announce that former President Kenneth G. Standard has been honored by the American Bar Association (ABA) with its Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Standard received the award from ABA Commission on Racial Diversity in the Profession on February 4, during the ABA's midyear meeting in Miami.

That evening, the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation recognized another longtime State Bar Association member, Helaine M. Barnett, with its Outstanding Service Award.

"Both Ken Standard and Helaine Barnett's professional careers and advocacy have made a difference in the lives of many individuals--and have inspired countless fellow attorneys," said New York State Bar Association President Claire Gutekunst. "We are pleased that the ABA has honored two such distinguished New Yorkers."

Standard served as president of the State Bar Association from 2004 to 2005. He was instrumental in creating a Corporate Counsel Section program that provides summer internships at law firms for law students from diverse backgrounds. The program is now named for him.

Standard is general counsel emeritus of Epstein Becker & Green, law firm based in New York City, and chair emeritus of its National Diversity and Professional Development Committee. He is a recipient of the ABA Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity and the State Bar Association's Honorable George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award in 2013.

In citing Barnett for her outstanding service, the American Bar Foundation noted she has dedicated her career to provision of legal aid and access to justice. She was an attorney for the Legal Aid Society in New York City for 37 years. She served as president of the Legal Services Corporation for six years, beginning in 2004. She is the chair of the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice.

Barnett is a recipient of the ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award and the State Bar Association's Gold Medal Award.

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.