History of Abely Honorees


The Abely Award for Leading Women and Children to Safety

Since 1997, the Abely Award for Leading Women and Children to Safety has been presented annually to a person who has made a difference in the lives of survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking and who shares the compassion, zeal, energy, and dedication for which we remember Maryellen Abely.

Previous recipients of the award are:

2019 The Honorable Toko Serita, Presiding Judge, Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court

2018 The Honorable Amiena Khan, Executive Vice President, National Association of Immigration Judges

2017 Ronnie Eldridge, Government & Community Social Justice Leader & Journalist

2016 The Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

2015 The Honorable Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney General, and the Honorable Pamela K. Chen, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

2014 The Honorable Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York County

2013 The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York

2012 Sarah Buel, Faculty Director, Diane Halle Center for Family Justice; Clinical Professor of Law, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

2011 The Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, Administrative Judge for the Family Court of the City of New York

2010 The Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney, United States Representative, New York’s 14th District

2009 Casey Gwinn, President, National Family Justice Center Alliance

2008 Teresa Columba Ulloa Ziáurriz, Regional Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Maestra María Guadalupe Morfín Otero, Special District Attorney for Violent Crimes Against Women for the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico

2007 The Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

2006 The Honorable Denny Chin, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

2005 The Honorable Betty Weinberg Ellerin, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

2004 The Honorable Judy Harris Kluger, Chief of Policy and Planning for the New York State Office of Court Administration

2003 The late Honorable Paul Wellstone, United States Senator, and the late Sheila Wellstone, domestic violence victims advocate (posthumously presented)

2002 The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

2001 The Honorable Sheldon Silver, New York State Assembly Speaker

2000 The Honorable Charles E. Schumer, United States Senator

1999 The Honorable Helene Weinstein, New York State Assemblywoman

1998 The Honorable Kathryn A. McDonald, Administrative Judge of New York City Family Court, and Patricia Eng, founder and Executive Director of the New York Asian Women’s Center

1997 The Honorable Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York


The Abely Pro Bono Leadership Award

Created in 2001, the Abely Pro Bono Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of the extraordinarily dedicated attorneys who have consistently demonstrated professional commitments to improving the lives of Sanctuary’s clients.

Previous recipients of the award are:

2019 William C. Silverman, Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP

2018 Joel Kurtzberg, Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

 2017 Richard Rothman, Senior Counsel, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

 2016 Sharon Katz, Special Counsel for Pro Bono, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

 2015 Jennifer L. Kroman, Director of Pro Bono Practice, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

 2014 Brenna K. DeVaney, Pro Bono Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

 2013 Samidh Guha, Partner, Akin Gump LLP

 2012 Harlene Katzman, Pro Bono Counsel and Director, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

 2011 Josephine Lea Iselin, Attorney Emeritus, and Jill Crawley Griset, Partner, and Matt Pearson, Associate, McGuireWoods LLP

 2010 Jill M. Zuccardy, Partner, Lansner Kubitschek Schaffer & Zuccardy

 2009 Hannah M. Pennington, former Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

 2008 Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, accepted by Sharon Katz, Special Counsel for Pro Bono

2007 Cynthia B. Rubin, Partner, Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP

 2006 Claudia L. Hammerman and Robyn F. Tarnofsky, Partners, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

 2005 Mary Rothwell Davis, Volunteer Appellate Counsel, Sanctuary for Families’ CBWLS

 2004 Saralyn M. Cohen, Pro Bono Counsel, Shearman & Sterling LLP 2003 Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Columbia Law School

 2003 Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Columbia Law School

 2002 Nora von Stange, former Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

 2001 Nancy L. Lazar, former Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP


The Maryellen Abely Fellowship

The Maryellen Abely Fellowship, underwritten by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, funds a summer internship at Sanctuary’s Legal Center and is given annually to a Columbia Law School student who is committed to working with victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Fellowship recipients include:

2019 Shuxin Qian

2018 Ammar Monawar

2017 Yiqing Shi

2016 Christina Zhang

2015 Whitney Hood

2014 Alexandra Swain

2013 Rosie Wang

2012 Alicia Lobeiras

2011 Sayoni Maitra

2010 Joy Ziegeweid

2009 Frances Kelly

2008 Mia Robertshaw

2007 Emma Glazer

2006 Carla Martinez

2005 Anya Emerson

2004 Yiwen Ouyang

2003 Erin Dougherty

2002 Alexander Karam

2001 Galen Sherwin

2000 Anne E. Glatz

1999 Rachel Wilgoren

1998 Deborah L. Fine

1997 Nihara Karim Choudhri

1996 Hilary Sunghee Seo


Special Awards

In 2005, a special Abely Leadership Award was given to Mary Ann Mailman in honor of her extraordinary contributions to Sanctuary for Families. Ms. Mailman is a past president of Sanctuary’s Board of Directors and a current member of Sanctuary’s President’s Council. She is a founder and active member of Sanctuary’s Legal Advisory Council and served as Co-chair until September 1, 2010.

In 2018, a special Abely Award for Extraordinary Service was presented to Kathleen Kundar for her years of devotion to Sanctuary for Families. As co-chair of the Legal Advisory Council for 12 years, Kathleen championed Sanctuary’s work, assisted our clients, and strengthened our Legal Center resources.