David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center Executive Director, has been honored with the Charles J. Hollenbeck Award by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism and the Law. The award is presented to an attorney employed in government or a non-profit legal services organization who has served the legal profession with “diligence, competence and dedication.”
The Hollenbeck Award was presented to Mr. Sciarra at the Commission’s 2018 Professional Lawyer of the Year Awards luncheon on October 11 in Edison. Former ELC Trustee and noted civil rights attorney Lawrence Lustberg of the Gibbons law firm introduced Mr. Sciarra to receive the award.
“David is a true treasure of the New Jersey legal community,” Mr. Lustberg said. “No lawyer has succeeded more than David in improving the lot of the least advantaged in society – poor, urban children of color – by working so hard to assure that they receive a thorough and efficient education. He has done so through tenacity, commitment, great energy and effective persuasion, in and out of court – the very essence of professionalism for which he receives this award.”
Mr. Sciarra is a prominent civil rights attorney, having litigated since 1978 a wide range of cases involving socioeconomic rights, affordable housing, shelter for the homeless, and welfare rights.
Since joining ELC in 1996, Mr. Sciarra has served as lead counsel to public school children in New Jersey’s landmark Abbott v. Burke education equity litigation. He conducts research and has authored numerous publications on public school finance, early education, and other areas of education law and policy, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School.
Mr. Sciarra also leads ELC’s national litigation and advocacy program, which has filed or participated in education rights cases in Michigan, Nevada, Florida, and numerous other states.
Mr. Sciarra received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude from Temple University School of Law.
The Hollenbeck Award is named for the former Executive Director of the NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law, which was established by the NJ State Bar Association, the State and Federal Judiciary and New Jersey’s three law schools. Mr. Hollenbeck devoted much of his career as an attorney to improving the quality of legal services throughout the state.
“ELC’s board of trustees, staff and supporters are very proud of David and his many significant accomplishments,” said Gregory Little, Chair of the ELC Board of Trustees, “and we join with David in thanking the NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law for this extraordinary honor.”
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