NYSBA honors Justice Krauss and the late Bill Keenan For Exceptional Contributions To Lawyers’ Well-Being

June 6, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Two revered figures in the legal profession, former Kings County Supreme Court Justice Sarah “Sallie” Krauss and William “Bill” Keenan, have been recognized by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) for their unwavering commitment to the Lawyer Assistance Program.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sarah ‘Sallie’ Krauss, the esteemed recipient of the Franklin P. Gavin Memorial Award, in recognition of her tireless service to mental health and recovery support within the legal community. Eagle file photo by Robert Abruzzese.

This initiative provides support to lawyers and legal staff grappling with mental health and substance use issues.

President of NYSBA, Richard Lewis, praised the two honorees for their embodiment of the principles of the Lawyer Assistance Program, emphasizing their strength and commitment to service.

“Justice Sarah Krauss and William Keenan both embody the principles of the Lawyer Assistance Program, including support, community, service and recovery,” Lewis said. “It takes strength to overcome such struggles, to be open and honest, and then go on to help others as well.”

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Krauss, a decades-long advocate for the Lawyer Assistance Committee, was awarded the Franklin P. Gavin Memorial Award. Her dedicated service to the committee since 1990 and tenure as chair from 2006 to 2009 has made her a beacon of hope within the legal community. She was renowned for her consistent presence at 12-step meetings and unwavering support for her peers.

The posthumous honor of the Raymond P. O’Keefe Award was granted to Keenan, a seasoned real estate attorney in Buffalo, in recognition of his dedication to the principles of recovery. Known for his generosity and kindness, and for exemplifying a productive life in recovery, Keenan left a lasting legacy in the legal field. His daughter, Mary Clare Keenan, accepted the award on his behalf.

The NYSBA presented these prestigious awards on May 20 at the Lawyer Assistance Program retreat weekend at Silver Bay in Lake George, NY. This annual retreat, initiated in 1991, offers a platform for lawyers in recovery to foster a sense of community and deepen their recovery journey.

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