National Pro Bono Celebration Week 2018

The NYS Unified Court System Office for Justice Initiatives joined the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to sponsor annual National Pro Bono Celebration Week from October 21-27, 2018. The Access to Justice Program held events for lawyers and litigants to celebrate pro bono! The 2018 events included:

• Free Court Help Center presentations and information sessions
• Free Bridge the Gap training
• Pro Bono Awards Night


Court Help Centers

Help Centers throughout New York State provided free presentations and information sessions for the public in honor of National Pro Bono Celebration Week.  The events were well attended and took place between October 22 and October 26, 2018.  The Kings County Civil and Housing Court Help Center gave a presentation titled “NYC Small Claims Court, The Real People’s Court,” followed by a Question & Answer session. The 7th Judicial District Help Center held a family law custody clinic. The New York County Surrogate’s Court Help Center gave a presentation titled “The Nuts and Bolts of a Small Estate.” The Bronx County Supreme and Civil Court Help Center held an Open House that allowed court visitors to learn about the resources offered. The Queens County Supreme Court, Civil Term, partnered with NYC Emergency Management, Ready New York, and provided court visitors with information and materials about emergency preparedness.


Bridge the Gap Training Series

The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program held a free "Bridge the Gap" training program for recent law school graduates and newly admitted attorneys. Experienced attorneys were also invited to participate in the training. Training sessions in Consumer Debt, Ethics, Landlord & Tenant Law, Family Law, and Uncontested Divorce took place Tuesday, October 23 through Friday, October 26, 2018.  Participants will complete a 60-hour pro bono practicum assisting litigants in the NYC Civil, Housing, Family, and Supreme Courts in exchange for 21 CLE credits. This training series encourages graduates and newly admitted attorneys to get involved in pro bono work early in their careers by bridging the gap between law school and the realities of practicing law.


Pro Bono Awards Night

The NYS Unified Court System Office for Justice Initiatives, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), and the New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) co-sponsor a pro bono volunteer recognition event on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at the New York County Lawyers Association. Awards were presented by NYCLA President Michael J. McNamara, NYSBA President’s Committee on Access to Justice, Edwina Frances Martin, Chair, and Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives. Special recognition was given to a number of exceptional attorneys and non-attorneys for their dedication and commitment. The Office for Justice Initiatives honorees were: Andrea Mendez and Judith Woods for service in the Family Court Volunteer Lawyer Program; Darlene Campbell, Nelson Nedlin, and Zachary Barker for service in the Consumer Debt Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program; Ivana Bologna and Ah Yong Ji for service in the Uncontested Divorce Program; Sylvia Kaplan for service in the Housing Court Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program; Anthony Calabro, Jason Jacobs, and Suzette Morales for service in the Housing Court Volunteer Lawyer Program; and Della DeKay for service in the Guardian Ad Litem Program.  See the Awards Program for a complete list of the volunteers recognized for their service.