Awards and honors are nothing new to Buffalo attorney Terry Connors, but he was quick to acknowledge this one was different.
Connors, one of New York's most distinguished trial lawyers, is receiving the Thurgood S. Marshall Award from the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The annual award recognizes him as the state's outstanding criminal justice practitioner.
“Flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as Thurgood Marshall," Connors said of the honor and civil rights icon, "but this recognition proves what I’ve always said, lawyers in Western New York can hold their own against any competition throughout the state and beyond its borders.”
Over the years, Connors has gained a reputation for winning big cases, most recently the high-profile acquittal of two Buffalo police officers accused of using excessive force.
“Terry has used his considerable courtroom skills to help others and make a positive difference in their lives and in our community," said Timothy W. Hoover, a Buffalo lawyer and association president.
Hoover said the honor recognizes Connors' commitment to excellence, his outstanding contributions to criminal defense and his mentoring of young lawyers.
He also is the latest Buffalo lawyer to receive the award, joining a list that includes Herald Price Fahringer, Mark J. Mahoney, James P. Harrington and Herbert L. Greenman.
At the same dinner honoring Connors on Thursday, the statewide association formally installed Hoover as president. The 900-member organization is made up of criminal defense lawyers and public defenders and its mission is to support defense lawyers, protect the rights of criminal defendants and advocate for reforms in the law.
"It is an active, working bar association that plays a crucial role in making the criminal justice system fairer and more just for all New Yorkers,” Hoover said.