The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program joined the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to sponsor the fifth annual National Pro Bono Celebration Week from October 20 - 26, 2013. The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program sponsored a free legal clinic on the Mobile Legal Help Center, a Bridge the Gap CLE pro bono training series, and a Pro Bono Awards Night volunteer recognition event.
The Mobile Legal Help Center
In honor of National Pro Bono Celebration Week, the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program partnered with the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) to bring civil legal services to New Yorkers aboard NYLAG's Mobile Legal Help Center. The Mobile Legal Help Center traveled to a different county of New York City each day of the week between October 20 - 26, 2013 and over 60 people received free private legal consultations with volunteer attorneys. Numerous healthcare proxies and living wills were executed right then and there on the van. Court personnel were also available to provide legal and procedural information about Surrogate's Court.
Bridge the Gap Training Series
The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program held a "Bridge the Gap" training program which focused on recruitment of new graduates and newly admitted attorneys to encourage them to get involved in pro bono early in their careers and to fulfill their first or second year mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. From October 20 - 26, 2013, training was conducted in ethics, uncontested divorce, housing, and consumer debt. Over 80 recent law school graduates and newly admitted attorneys participated in this initiative.
Pro Bono Awards Night
The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program, the New York State Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) and the Office of the Mayor co-sponsored a pro bono volunteer recognition event on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at NYCLA. Attorneys received awards for their outstanding pro bono service. Special recognition was given to some of the outstanding attorneys and programs that assisted Superstorm Sandy survivors as well as the pro bono contribution of Emeritus Attorneys.
The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program honorees included Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; Roger Hawke, Attorney Emeritus; Sandra Lee Laumann; Svetlana Gloukhova Krishnan, Tina Chan; Amir Rasoulpour; Della L. Dekay; Thomas Giles; Jennifer K. Brown; Bryant Cherry-Woode; Jesse Maniff; Juanita Lasprilla; and, Tracy Flynn. In addition, 347 volunteers were recognized for their work in the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program's Consumer Debt, Uncontested Divorce, Housing, Family Law and Guardian Ad Litem programs. Three court employees, Yosef Seigel, Dahyana Grullon and Bo Burnstein were also honored for their contributions to the DIY Form programs. All of the honorees performed over 50 hours of pro bono services in a court-based program throughout 2013. During this event, a Volunteer Opportunity Expo was held for attendees to learn about the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program's volunteer programs. After the event, honorees were featured on the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NYCourtsVLP.The program included remarks by Barbara Moses, President, NYCLA; Glenn Lau-Kee, President-elect, New York State Bar Association; David B. Goldin, Administrative Justice Coordinator, Office of the Mayor of the City of New York; and, Fern A. Fisher, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts and Director, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program.