Coronavirus Update

Find free LEGAL ASSISTANCE during the Coronavirus crisis by phone and online

New and easy to follow instructions for making phone and video court appearances are here:
Virtual Court Appearances for the Public


Our Mission

To ensure access to justice in all NY State Courts for people of all backgrounds, incomes, and special needs, by using every resource, including pro bono programs, self-help services, and technological tools, and by securing stable and adequate non-profit and government funding for civil and criminal legal services programs.


Unrepresented Court Users Report

Unrepresented Court Users Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted a substantial population of court users — the unrepresented. Cognizant of this reality, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks appointed the Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, to lead a working group to consider and develop strategies for promoting access to our virtual courts for unrepresented court users.

The unrepresented are often at a disadvantage in even the best of times, and this crisis has exacerbated many of the hardships, including the digital divide between those with access to technology and those lacking such access. Yet, the crisis has provided the Unified Court System with the impetus to design and implement a virtual extension of our existing Access to Justice program. A system that works well during a pandemic will work exceedingly well as the crisis subsides.

The July 1, 2020 Unrepresented Court Users Report identifies efforts undertaken by the Unified Court System to maintain access to justice, discuss the barriers encountered by the unrepresented and offer a preliminary blueprint for best serving all court users for the duration of the pandemic and beyond.


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Judge Edwina G. Mendelson, DCAJ for Justice Initiatives

Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives
Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson Profile

Chief of Staff
Michelle Smith, Esq.


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