The Legal Aid Society

News In Brief

Making the Case for Humanity

The Legal Aid Society is an indispensable component of the legal, social and economic fabric of New York City - passionately
advocating for individuals across a variety of civil, criminal and juvenile rights matters, while also pursuing a broad legal reform agenda.


April 1, 2009

Welcome to News in Brief, the newsletter of The Legal Aid Society. The newsletter will contain news items about the work of The Legal Aid Society and various events. We will also share updates on funding matters.

The Legal Aid Society In The News

Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Calls the Rockefeller Drug Law Reform a Huge Breakthrough, Choosing Treatment Over Punishment and Restoring Judicial Discretion
Calling the reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws "a huge breakthrough for the State to choose treatment over counter-productive punishment," Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, told the New York Law Journal that "judicial discretion is one of the bedrocks of our judicial system, and it is an important step forward that judicial discretion is being restored in this area after so many years in which judges were not allowed to be judges" . . . Read more.



The Legal Aid Society Honors Judge Fern Fisher During Women's History Month
The Legal Aid Society celebrated Women's History Month on March 26 with a special reception honoring all women employees-- past and present-- and other woman members of the Legal Aid family for their many accomplishments and contributions . . . Read more.


The Dream of a Mexican Immigrant Family Comes True, Thanks to The Legal Aid Society, the City of New York and Asociacion Tepeyac
After 14 years of hard work including twelve-hour days, seven days a week, Gregorio Quechol and his sisters and brother saved enough money to open an organic produce store in Brooklyn. Thanks to the efforts of The Legal Aid Society with pro bono counsel from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; the City of New York; and Asociacion Tepeyac, the dream came true and the family celebrated with the people who made it possible during the grand opening of Quechol Products Inc. at 310 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg earlier this week . . . Read more.


Immigration Unit's Incredible Advocacy Provides Hope and New Life
The incredible advocacy and perseverance demonstrated by the Civil Practice's Immigration Unit provided a woman with a life-threatening medical condition proof of her United States citizenship, elgibility for medical coverage, and the motivation to recover, knowing that she is able to remain in this country. Thanks to Allison Baker, a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit's Robin Hood Project, with help from her colleagues in the Unit, the client, Ms. Wilson, has hope and a new life . . . Read more.


The Legal Aid Society Honors 2009 Sustaining Law Firms
The Legal Aid Society acknowledged the outstanding support of the Sustaining Law Firms in an ad that ran March 24 in the New York Law Journal. The law firms sustain the Civil Practice of The Legal Aid Society by contributing at a leadership level of $600 per New York attorney . . . Read more.


Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Calls for Permanent Housing for Homeless
Advocates for homeless families criticize the City's cluster-site housing program,which has turned dozens of apartment buildings into homeless shelters, for displacing low-income residents and only temporarily solving the needs of homeless families at a great cost to the City.

"The City is shooting itself in the foot," Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, was quoted in a March 4 New York Times article. "It is far more costly to house families in apartments as shelter than to house them in permanent housing." One solution for housing homeless families often mentioned by advocates is the federal subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers . . . Read more.

In the midst of what he described as "an affordable housing famine," Banks said in a Village Voice March 20 article that homeless families languish in expensive emergency housing because the City offers them no priority for federal Sectional 8 rental assistance or federally subsidized housing. Banks, who has been representing homeless families with children for 25 years, said that it is far more costly to house families in apartments as shelter than to house them in permanent housing. One of the solutions often mentioned by advocates is the federal subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers . . . Read more.


Preserving An Issue for Appeal
The Legal Aid Society's training symposium on Preserving An Issue for Appeal brought together three eminent jurists from the trial, intermediate and high courts, together with two leading appellate attorneys from the defense and prosecution during a spirited discussion March 16 at NYU Law School, moderated by Professor Randy Hertz . . . Read more.


Dire Consequences for Poor New Yorkers With Cuts in State and City Funding for Criminal Defense and Civil Legal Services
Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, told the City Council March 20 that the proposed cuts for criminal defense and civil legal services in the FY2009-2010 Preliminary Budget will hurt New Yorkers accused of crimes and families and individuals who need civil legal help in the midst of this severe economic downturn . . . Read more.


Puerto Rican Bar Association Honors Maria Navarro For Immigration Service to the Latino Community
Maria Navarro, Supervising Attorney in the Immigration Law Unit of The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice, was honored by the Puerto Rican Bar Association on March 27 for her many achievements and contributions to the Latino community, including her accomplishments as a leader and role model and for transforming the lives of countless individuals in the Latino community . . . Read more

Eileen McCann Recognized For Outstanding Efforts to End Violence Against Women
Eileen McCann, the Domestic Violence Project's attorney in the Civil Practice's Staten Island Neighborhood Office, received the "In the Trenches" award from the Lawyers' Committee Against Domestic Violence at its annual domestic violence forum held at Fordham Law School on March 2. The award recognizes: "Indomitable Courage, Vision, and Dedication to Ending Violence Against Women" . . . Read more


More recent LAS News stories



The Legal Aid Society Newsletter is written and edited by Pat Bath, Director of Communications, with technical assistance from Jason Smallwood, Web Developer.

© 2009 The Legal Aid Society • 199 Water Street, New York, NY 10038 • www.legal-aid.org