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Milinda Reed ‘99 was recently recognized with the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) Citation for Special Achievement in Public Service. The citation was conferred at a gathering of NYSBA’s Committee on Attorneys in Public Service on June 16.
As director of the Domestic Violence Services Program at Unity House, Reed has developed numerous programs over the past decade to assist domestic violence victims, including The Law Project, which provides free legal representation in civil legal matters such as divorce, child support, custody and visitation.
“Seeing victims transition from abusive households to safe and independent living is the most fulfilling part of my job,” said Reed. “It is truly wonderful to watch victims gain the strength to recover from abuse and begin to rebuild their lives.”
The innovative programs developed by Reed and her staff at Unity House to assist rural women, immigrant women, teenagers and others in need have been hailed by federal regulators as some of the most comprehensive domestic violence victim programs in the nation.
Looking back at her time at Albany Law School, Reed recalled her two favorite professors, Mary Lynch and Jaya Connors. She said, “I had Professor Lynch for an independent study class, and I wrote a paper about stalking. The process of writing that paper – meaning more than 1,000 rewrites – taught me so much about writing and about how to think about issues in a way I hadn’t really thought about them before.
Reed continued, “I had Professor Jaya Connors for the Domestic Violence Clinic, and she taught me how to really advocate for a client in the year I spent in the clinic. She is also the one who connected me to Unity House.”
Outside of work, Reed spends time writing and hopes one day to publish a novel. She also spends time with her nine-year-old grandson, and in addition to biking, camping and building, they take part in fundraisers for causes such as Paws in the Park, which benefits the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, and 5K walk/runs such as Liza’s Run for Help, which benefits domestic violence victims.