Caps Established for Attorneys for Children

The Office of Court Administration has now established a cap of 150 children as the number of clients an attorney for children (formerly known as law guardians) can represent at one time. The order, signed by Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau, was praised by Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice, who told the New York Law Journal that “the cap is going to have an extremely positive effect on our representation of children in Family Court. It is going to have a tremendous impact on the services that we can provide to children” (NYLJ, April 2). Tami Steckler, Attorney-in-Chief Steven Banks, members of the staff and the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, led by Debra Wright, President of ALAA; George Albro, Secretary-Treasurer; and Kimberly Forte, the JRP Vice President, were instrumental in securing legislation, which was signed into law last August, that mandated the cap on the number of children that could be represented at one time. JRP has been working with OCA on a caseload study to determine what number that number should be. Currently, the attorneys in the Juvenile Rights Practice now represent an average of 220 children at any one time, meaning that some of the lawyers have as many as 300 young clients.