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DA Flynn tapped with the Legal Service Award

After serving more than a year as Erie County's district attorney, John J. Flynn Jr. will receive the Legal Service Award at the Minority Bar Foundation of WNY's annual awards ceremony next month.

Flynn is one of the five award recipients that will be honored Aug. 16 at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue.

The ceremony recognizes lawyers, students, community leaders and organizations that serve minority communities.

Flynn, who was recognized for his commitment to the poor and underrepresented persons in the legal system, said he is honored and said he had made a pledge when he was elected to diversify the DA's Office.

For example, in an interview with The Buffalo News last January, he said he was hiring an investigator who would become the first minority among his 16 investigators.

“The DA’s Office represents the people of Erie County and it should reflect the population it serves. I believe justice can only be accomplished by treating people fairly and equally,” he said.

The other honorees include Judge Barbara Sims, who passed away last month, who will receive the Honorable Hugh B. Scott Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award for her pioneering efforts in the legal community. Sims was the first African-American woman to receive a law degree at the University at Buffalo, and the first black woman to be appointed as an Erie County assistant district attorney. She was also the first African-American woman elected as a Buffalo City Court judge.

The foundation's Community Service Award will be awarded to the Sarah Minnie Badger Foster Care Agency and its executive director, Bridget Richardson, for their dedication to ensuring urban children are placed in safe foster care environments.

“We are really honored by the recognition,” said Richardson. “This isn’t just a job to me; we feel the compassion. And we will continue to provide help and be there for the families and children.”

Other awards include the John L. Hargrave Student Award, to Deonna Jones, a J.D. candidate 2019 at the University at Buffalo School of Law; the Education Award, to Catherine Collins, New York State Department of Education Board of Regents; and the Justice Rose B. Sconiers Trailblazer Award, to State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour.

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