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
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
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 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
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
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