Crystal Gavel Awards
Honorable Jay C. Zainey
Hon. Jay C. Zainey was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 19, 2002. He is past President of the Louisiana State Bar Association. As State Bar Association President, he created the Community Action Committee and the Committee to Provide Legal Services for the Disabled. These two committees are purportedly the first of their kind in the nation. Judge Zainey is a 1969 graduate of Jesuit High School, and currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the Ave Maria Law School in Naples, Florida.
Judge Zainey is a co-founder of SOLACE, a Louisiana State Bar Association program, which provides services to members of the bar association and the entire legal community who experience family tragedies. There are currently over 7000 volunteer attorneys throughout the state who participate in the SOLACE Program. SOLACE was instrumental in assisting attorneys who were displaced as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav in finding housing, office space, office furniture and books. SOLACE Programs have now been developed in Delaware, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky and Puerto Rico. Plans are underway to develop more programs nationwide.
In May 2004, Judge Zainey organized the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (H.E.L.P.) Program. In this program, attorneys provide legal consultation services and notary services at homeless centers in New Orleans. Judge Zainey has initiated similar programs in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Opelousas and Shreveport, Louisiana; Lubbock and Austin, Texas; Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Hartford, Connecticut; Birmingham, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Columbia, South Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; New York City, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Plans are underway to start H.E.L.P. Programs in numerous other cities. The Program has been instrumental in assisting many members of the homeless community escape the bonds of homelessness, rebuild their lives, and restore their dignity. H.E.L.P. volunteers are also assisting members of the homeless community obtain their birth certificates, identification cards and social security benefits. Recently, Judge Zainey has assisted in coordinating a Homeless Court in New Orleans.
Judge Zainey has also worked with the Louisiana State Bar Association Committee to Provide Legal Services for the Disabled in providing pro bono legal services to people with disabilities and their families. He has also assisted Tulane Law School develop its Disability Law Society, one of the first of its kind in the country.
In October, 2004 Judge Zainey and his wife Joy founded the God’s Special Children Program. The program includes a monthly mass for people with special needs, their families and friends. The group is also addressing preparation and receipt of the sacraments , bible study, parents’ retreats and a buddy program in which members of CYO’s, Catholic Youth Ministries and Catholic high school students interact with children with special needs.
He and Joy co-founded St. Andrew’s Village, a faith-based long term living community for adults with disabilities. St. Andrew’s Village recently purchased a 100 acre tract of land in Abita Springs, and will provide a loving environment for many of God’s special angels. He proudly serves as President of the Board of St. Andrew’s Village.
Besides serving as president of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Judge Zainey is also past president of the Jefferson Bar Association, is President of the Pro Bono Project, is on the Executive Board of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and is Past- President of the Judge John C. Boutall American Inn of Court. He also currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Hurricane Katrina Task Force, and has recently written a chapter in “Lawyer’s Working to End Homelessness,” a book published by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty.