ALBANY, NY (01/27/2017)(readMedia)-- Six affinity bar associations have been honored by the New York State Bar Association Committee for Bar Leaders of New York State with Innovation Awards for their outstanding public service.

The bar associations recognized are: Association of Black Women Attorneys; Dominican Bar Association; Asian American Bar Association of New York; Metropolitan Black Bar Association; Women's Bar Association of the State of New York; and the Caribbean Attorneys Network.

The awards recognize how bar associations adapt to the needs of their members and the community at large by introducing innovative programs, ideas and methodologies. They were presented during the New York State Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City January 27.

"Society looks to lawyers and lawyers rely on bar associations and the legal community to provide guidance on ever-changing policies and laws," said committee Chair Deborah Martin Owens of New York City (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan). "This year's recipients demonstrate that they are uniquely qualified to present well-planned programs and initiatives that benefit the public and bar."

The Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA) and the Dominican Bar Association (DBA) were honored in the small bar Innovation Award category, consisting of fewer than 500 members.

ABWA launched a Power Brunch series in 2016 where members have brunch with a "power player" from the judiciary, private or public sector to assist with career advice. Similarly, DBA started a "Let's Chat" series of programs where its members could converse with leaders in the legal profession.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) were honored in the medium bar category of 500 to 2,000 members.

AABANY was honored for its Seventh Annual Fall Conference, which offered 19 continuing legal education (CLE) and non-CLE programs, the second annual Diversity Career Fair & Expo and other events. The MBBA was awarded for donating 500 pre-filled backpacks with school supplies to children in need in each of New York City's five boroughs.

The Women's Bar Association of the State of New York was honored in the large bar category of 2,000

or more members. The group engaged its 19 chapters throughout the state to conduct a grassroots voter registration drive. The initiative provided direct voting rights education as well as assistance in registering to vote.

A new award-Emerging Bar- was given to the Caribbean Attorneys Network for its event that focused on law enforcement fatal shootings in communities of color. Members of the bar, the community and the New York Police Department participated and discussed solutions.

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