Grand Opening of the Erie County Surrogate's Court Help Center
(L-R) Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, Presiding Justice Appellate Division, 4th Department, Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, DCAJ for Justice Initiatives, Karen Nicholson, CEO for the Center for Elder Law and Justice, Kimberly Colaiacovo, Esq. Help Center Attorney for Erie County Surrogate's Court, Joseph Shifflett, Esq. Chief Clerk Court Attorney for Erie County Surrogate's Court, Hon. Acea M. Mosey, Erie County Surrogate's Court, Andrew B. Isenberg, District Executive, 8th Judicial District Administrative Office
On Monday October 7th, 2019, the Grand Opening of the Erie County Surrogate’s Court Help Center took place. It marked the thirty second Court Help Center opened in New York State, the second in the 8th J.D. and Erie County and the first Surrogate’s Court Help Center outside of New York City. Hon. Acea M. Mosey, Erie County Surrogate, hosted the celebration and welcomed Hon. Edwina Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, who presided over the proceedings. Also present at the event were Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and other luminaries from the bench, the bar, the court and the public.
The Help Center is located on the second floor of Old County Hall in Buffalo, where it had been functioning on a limited basis for about a year. This grand opening signals the improved capacity of the office to serve the public on a daily basis, with a volunteer attorney and available several days during the week.
Office for Justice Initiatives presentation at the NYC Bar Association
New York City Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Committee event “Access to Justice: It's Not Just Lawyers Anymore.”
On September 10, 2019 Denise Colón Greenaway, Esq. MSW presented, amongst other distinguished panelists, at the New York City Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Committee event entitled “Access to Justice: It's Not Just Lawyers Anymore.” Ms. Colón Greenaway, an attorney at the Office for Justice Initiatives, discussed non-traditional ways of expanding access to justice through the use of innovative programs that train non-lawyers to provide free, skilled assistance to court users. Highlights included a discussion of the Court Navigator Program which provides in-court non-lawyer assistance to people in Housing and other civil courts who do not have attorneys, and the Guardian Ad Litem Program which provides in-court and out-of-court non-lawyer assistance to impaired persons who may or may not be represented by an attorney.
Elder Justice Conference - Rapid Fire Presentation 2019
Office for Justice Initiatives attorney, Denise Colon Greenaway, presented as part of a distinguished panel of experts at the 14th Annual New York City Elder Justice Conference. Ms. Colon Greenaway discussed the Office for Justice Initiatives’ partnership with the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice to provide Housing Court judges with a group of Guardians Ad Litem with elder abuse specialization for appointment in cases where an impaired older adult is facing an eviction proceeding and there is concern for possible elder abuse. She also explained how professionals can seek to access court resources that aim to serve litigants who are mentally and/or physically impaired or disabled so that such litigants are able to meaningfully participate in their court case.
New Foreclosure Answer DIY Form Program
The Office for Justice Initiatives and the Office for Policy and Planning have developed a brand-new DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Foreclosure Answer Program in partnership with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., Legal Services NYC, and the Division of Technology. The program provides users with easy to read Foreclosure Answer papers along with step-by-step instructions. To use the Foreclosure Answer Program, the user will need Adobe Flash Player, Microsoft Word and an attached printer. Visit CourtHelp to view all available programs.
On March 6, 2019, the Office for Justice Initiatives facilitated a Poverty Simulation at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Participants included law students from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, New York Law School as well as the Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest at Rutgers Law School, the Senior Director of Public Service and Pro Bono Initiatives at New York Law School, and a faculty member from New York Law School and non-judicial NYS Court personnel. In addition, administrators and faculty from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, staffed community organizations that the participants interacted with. The Poverty Simulation is designed to provide participants with the experience of living in poverty for one month. Participants were exposed to the difficult choices that people living in poverty make every day. At the conclusion, of the simulation, participants and volunteers gathered to debrief.
Visit the Litigants with Diverse Needs page to learn more about poverty simulations and read testimonials provided by participants.
Grand Opening of the Bronx County Surrogate's Court Help Center
(L-R) Deputy Chief Clerk Elix R. Madera-Fliegelman, Surrogate Nelida Maláve-González, Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, DCAJ for Justice Initiatives, Chief Clerk Michael P. Hausler and Associate Court Attorney Wendy Silva
Friday, January 11, 2019, marked the grand opening of the Bronx County Surrogate’s Court Help Center. Surrogate Nelida Maláve-González, Chief Clerk Michael P. Hausler, Deputy Chief Clerk Elix R. Madera-Fliegelman and Associate Court Attorney Wendy Silva, hosted the grand opening celebration. Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives presided over the grand opening celebration. This is the second Help Center to open under the leadership of Judge Mendelson and the thirtieth Help Center to open in New York State.
The Bronx County Surrogate’s Court Help Center is located on the third floor in room 323 of the courthouse. The Help Center is staffed by a court attorney who will be available to meet with unrepresented litigants one-on-one, to assist them with administration proceedings. In addition to the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Forms terminals located in other parts of the Surrogate’s Court, the Help Center has one DIY terminal that unrepresented litigants may use to prepare the papers they need for a Small Estate Affidavit, Article 17-A Guardianship Petition and Safe Deposit Box Petition. The location, address, and hours of operation are available on CourtHelp.