About the Excellence Awards
Our Excellence Awards celebrate the unified efforts of our Network's advocates, private bar partners, and community leaders. Together, their efforts transcend the boundaries of conventional civil legal support, lighting the way toward justice and equality for marginalized and low-income residents of Pennsylvania. Each year, we hold an event in celebration of these individuals, groups, and initiatives that, through their work, bring hope to countless lives.
The following awards are presented annually to dedicated members currently serving within the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network:
Outstanding Attorney Advocate Award
Honoring an attorney within our Network, this award pays tribute to exceptional advocacy, leadership, and dedication to advancing justice and equity. Recipients exemplify the pinnacle of commitment and compassion in the equal justice community.
Outstanding Non-Attorney Advocate Award
Celebrating the indispensable contributions of non-attorney staff, this award recognizes those working in fiscal, communications, development, intake, outreach, technology, administrative and paralegal positions, and others who, with steadfast advocacy and an enduring spirit of service, leave indelible marks on their community.
Outstanding Systemic Advocacy Award
This award spotlights transformative projects and initiatives undertaken by the programs in our Network. Rather than individual accolades, this distinction is reserved for the far-reaching impact and merits of the systemic advocacy efforts themselves.
Emerging Excellence in Advocacy Award
The Emerging Excellence in Advocacy Award honors a legal professional from our Network who, within their first 5 years of practice or less, has already made significant strides in championing the rights of the underrepresented and marginalized. The impact of their work underscores the potential for change and heralds a more just legal future.
Each year, we also recognize the contributions of individuals and groups beyond the boundaries of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network with the following awards:
Outstanding Pro Bono Advocacy Award
This award pays tribute to private bar associations, attorneys, law firms, and judges, who have significantly advanced legal aid for Pennsylvania's underserved communities, either through the provision of pro bono services or by increasing funding for legal aid through class action residual distributions. Nominees must be licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and not be employed by free or low-cost legal service providers.
Outstanding Community Advocacy Award
This award celebrates clients, community leaders, legislators, and non-attorney volunteers who amplify our mission. Recipients advocate for and empower those around them, and their efforts stand as a testament to the profound impact community figures make daily.
We welcome nominations from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the last Friday in October. Winners are announced later that fall and awards are presented at our esteemed Excellence Awards event, held each March. You can browse a list of prior award recipients, including recipients of the former Striving Towards Excellence Awards, by year, on our website. For more details about this year's Excellence Awards, please visit our dedicated event page.