The 2022 Abely Awards

A Celebration of the Past 25 Years


Thank you for joining us to celebrate the monumental accomplishments of our 2022 Abely honorees, Dorchen Leidholdt and Linda Lopez.

In their combined 50+ years of service, Dorchen and Linda have built the largest legal services program in the United States dedicated exclusively to serving survivors of gender-based violence. It is a testament to their work that so many of you were there. And what a gift to be able to celebrate in person.


Dorchen A. Leidholdt
Director, Legal Center
Sanctuary for Families

Linda Lopez
Deputy Director, Legal Center
Sanctuary for Families

Established 25 years ago, the Abely Awards honor the memory of Maryellen Abely, an alumna of Columbia Law School, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and a pro bono attorney at Sanctuary for Families’ Legal Center.

Maryellen was a tireless advocate for the rights of victims of domestic abuse and one of the first pro bono attorneys at the Legal Center. After a long battle with cancer, she died in 1995. In remembering Maryellen, we celebrate the contributions of pro bono attorneys, law students, and legal assistants whose efforts enable Sanctuary to serve thousands of domestic violence victims each year.

Our thanks to Davis Polk for graciously hosting this event, to Judge Janet DiFiori for sharing such powerful remarks, and to our Legal Advisory Council for the months of preparation that went into this year’s celebration.

For any questions regarding the event, please contact Geny Kimbrell at