July 14, 2014
MAKING THE CASE FOR HUMANITY
The Legal Aid Society, the nation's oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization, is more than a law firm for low-income clients. It is an indispensable component of the legal, social, and economic fabric of New York City - passionately advocating for low-income individuals and families across a variety of civil, criminal and juvenile rights matters, while also fighting for legal reform. Through a network of borough, neighborhood, and courthouse offices in 26 locations in New York City, the Society provides comprehensive legal services in all five boroughs of New York City for clients who cannot afford to pay for private counsel.Annually, the Society handles some 300,000 cases and legal matters for clients and its law reform work benefits some two million low-income families and individuals in New York City and the landmark rulings in many of these cases have a State-wide and national impact. The Legal Aid Society takes on more cases for more clients than any other legal services organization in the United States. And it brings a depth and breadth of perspective that is unmatched in the legal profession. The Legal Aid Society's unique value is an ability to go beyond any one case to create more equitable outcomes for individuals and broader, more powerful systemic change for society as a whole.
Legal Aid in the News
Seymour W. James, Jr., Named Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, The World's Largest and Oldest Legal Services Organization
Seymour W. James, Jr., an internationally recognized expert in criminal justice who has served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice for the last nine years,has been appointed the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society in New York City by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors.
Low-Income Tenants Face Problem Of Paying Rent With Declining Resources
Judith Goldiner, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit of The Legal Aid Society, disagreed with data collected by the Rent Guidelines Board that conflicts between landlords and tenants are decreasing. "Tenants are often afraid to file complaints with the state," she told the Wall Street Journal adding that she didn't see any decline in friction between landlords and tenants. "We don't see that," she said. "What we see are desperate issues for our clients trying to pay an affordable rent with incomes that if anything are decreasing." Goldiner also appeared on Marketplace on WNYC-NPR to discuss the lack of affordable housing for low income New Yorkers."We see all the time people having to make really terrible choices between-do they feed their kids? Do they buy medicine for their kids? Do they buy clothes, or do they pay the rent?" said Ms Goldiner. "The rents just keep on creeping higher and higher."Goldiner said that "sometimes we see landlords cut off services, take people to housing court even if they don't owe any money, telling people that they don't have the right immigration status and so they have to leave or they'll call INS. You know, all kinds of bullying."
Legal Aid's Kathryn Kliff, an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Helps Homeless Families
Read the blog from 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow Kathryn Kliff, a Staff Attorney in the Bronx Neighorhood Office who defends the rights of homeless families and helps them find shelter.
Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Seymour James Quoted In NYT About Study Showing Racial Disparity In Criminal Prosecutions
Seymour W. James, Jr., the Attorney-in-Chief, told the New York Times that a study showing that race was a major factor in criminal prosecutions in Manhattan "really confirms what we have been seeing for years" in bail hearings and sentencing. He said prosecutors should receive extensive training on how to counteract what he perceived might be their own unconscious prejudices. The two-year study was conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice.
Transgender Advocates File Lawsuit Demading New York Medicaid Cover Transgender Healthcare
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), The Legal Aid Society, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP filed a federal class action lawsuit against New York State Department of Health on behalf of two transgender women who have been denied medically necessary healthcare coverage by New York State's public health insurance because of a discriminatory Medicaid regulation.The lawsuit argues that New York's current regulation banning transgender healthcare coverage by Medicaid is unconstitutional.
Seymour James Speaks About Effective Legal Aid Delivery Systems At International Conference In South Africa
Seymour James spoke about the "Key Principles and Models of Effective Legal Aid Delivery Systems" at an international conference in Johannesburg, South Africa and the benefit of not for profit organizations providing indigent defense. He was asked to participate in the conference by the Republic of South Africa, the International Legal Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, in collarobration with the Open Society Justice Initiative, the University of Pretoria and the University of Witwatersrand.
Legal Aid Staff Testifies Before Government Bodies On Issues Affecting Clients; Participates in Bar Panels
Ellen Davidson, a Staff Attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit of The Legal Aid Society, testified before the Rent Guidelines Board asking that rents be frozen for one and two year renewal leases. Ms. Davidson testified that the freeze would "help to address New York City's growing problems of homelessness and poverty due to unaffordable rent burdens by maintaining rents at their current level. The mistakes of the past must be remedied. This Board should freeze rents for one and two year renewal leases."
Mark Son Featured In Korea Times - Next Generation Of Leaders In The Korean-American Community
Mark Son, a Staff Attorney in the Queens Office of the Criminal Practice was featured in an article in Korea Times about the "Next Generation of leaders in the Korean-American Community. Mark talked about his work as a public defender and how having a Korean public defender can help the Korean community.
Legal Aid Staff Participates In Community Activities
Save Our Streets Day Of Remembrance
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