December 3, 2009


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.

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Legal Aid in the News

Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Praises IOLA Bailout, Calling the Need for Civil Legal Services Dire During this Economic Downturn

Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, said the proposed $15 million allocation for the Interest on Lawyer Accounts Fund in the Office of Court Administration's budget has prevented every legal services program in the State from severely cutting back on civil legal services to the neediest New Yorkers . . . Read more.

The Legal Aid Society 's 133rd Annual Meeting Recognizes Staff Accomplishments and Elects New Directors; 2009 Annual Report Is Now Available

Alan Levine, Chairman, presided over The Legal Aid Society's 133rd Annual Meeting on November 18, 2009, at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, at which new Directors were elected to the Board of Directors and the Board of Advisors and members of the staff were recognized. The Legal Aid Society's 2009 Annual Report is available on the website at You may also request a copy by contacting the Communications/Public Information office at . . . Read more.

Adriene Holder and Seymour James Honored by Foundation for the Judicial Friends

Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice, and Seymour W. James, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice were honored November 19, 2009, by The Foundation for the Judicial Friends, Inc. during a black tie dinner at Steiner Studios. Adriene and Seymour are recognized for their outstanding commitment to make access to justice a reality for all New Yorkers.

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Chief Judge Lippman Presents 2009 Pro Bono Awards

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (second from the right) addressed the 2009 Pro Bono Awards and Law Firm Recognition Ceremony and presented the awards. With Chief Judge Lippman are (from left) Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief; Alan Levine, Chairman of the Society and Presiding Partner of the New York office of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP; Herman H. Raspe, Deputy Managing Partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; Lisa E. Cleary, a partner and head of the Pro Bono Committee at the firm; and Blaine (Fin) Fogg, Of Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and President of the Society. Mr. Raspe and Ms. Cleary hold the Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman presented awards to 48 law firms, three corporations and approximately 300 lawyers during The Legal Aid Society's 2009 Pro Bono Awards and Law Firm Recognition ceremony at Espace on October 26, 2009.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP received the Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award for its exceptional pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. The firm has expanded its pro bono commitment by serving as co-counsel on four major class action reform cases in the areas of subsidized housing for low-income tenants, public assistance benefits for low-income families, health and safety concerns of children in residential treatment centers and mental health issues of children in foster care. The firm has also handled a large number of individual cases in a variety of civil legal matters and participated in community outreach and education efforts in the Civil Practice . . . Read more.

Civil Practice Files Law Suit to Help Homeowners At Risk of Losing Homes

Four homeowners from Queens and Brooklyn, who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure, filed a federal class action lawsuit on November 9, 2009, charging that Aurora Loan Services, their mortgage servicer, has denied them access to the Obama Administrationís Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) for spurious reasons, and has failed to provide them with notice so they may contest such denials. The lawsuit, Edwards et al v. Aurora Loan Services,LLC et al filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, is one of the first law suits to challenge a mortgage servicer for breach of contract by failing to review mortgage loans of eligible homeowners for HAMP and to provide a procedure to contest denial . . . Read more.

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

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