News and Information
April 16, 2012

Legal Aid Award Winners Announced

Abigail Turner of the Legal Aid Justice Center and R. Peyton Whiteley of Legal Services of Northern Virginia have been selected as recipients of the 2012 Virginia Legal Aid Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Access to Legal Services Committee.

The award recognizes lawyers employed by legal aid societies licensed by the VSB. Recipients are chosen for their advocacy, quality of service, and impact beyond their service area.

Turner has been the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Litigation Director since 2008. The center is a non-federally funded civil legal services provider for people who live in poverty. It has four offices in Virginia and a staff of thirty-seven.

In nominating Turner, Alex R. Gulotta, executive director of the center, wrote, “Abigail Turner’s dedication to legal services began more than thirty-five years ago when she joined the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., in 1975. Since then, Abigail has served low-income communities in five states and was named Litigation Director for three separate organizations. She is a passionate and determined advocate for those whom she represents and a valued and respected mentor to all her colleagues.”

Turner joined the center in 2006 as an attorney with the JustChildren program. She previously worked as litigation director for legal aid programs in New Hampshire and Minneapolis.

Whiteley has been legal advocacy coordinator for Legal Services of Northern Virginia since 1988. The organization is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides free legal assistance to low-income residents of Northern Virginia. Its mission is to promote justice by providing free, high-quality legal advocacy and information for elderly, disabled, and low-income individuals and families who face the loss of a critical need, such as personal safety, income, housing, medical benefits, education, or family stability.

In nominating Whiteley, Susan Stoney, deputy director of the firm, wrote, “Peyton regularly and tirelessly avails himself to the attorney staff at LSNV, to pro bono attorneys, to community members and to members of the greater legal aid community statewide, providing training and guidance to his colleagues on procedural and substantive legal issues in many practice areas. He has the ability to see the big picture, and to advocate for positive change, not just for the individual, but for the multitude of legal aid clients.”

Before joining the firm, Whiteley served as a staff attorney in New York for Westchester County, as litigation director for Bronx Legal Services, and as executive director of Oregon Legal Services.

The awards will be presented at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting June 13-17, 2012, in Virginia Beach.


Updated: Apr 16, 2012