I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and managing through these challenging times. The scale of losses in New York City is staggering and our City will face choices to increase fairness or disparities as we move forward.
The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) has an extensive history of providing emergency relief to disadvantaged communities when disaster strikes through the rapid development of carefully structured pro bono programs and services. Our work with our supporters aims to tilt the legal system toward greater fairness for the disadvantaged. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated New York City, and has disproportionately impacted low-income communities served by CBJC. In response, all of our legal work has moved remotely to telephone and internet consultations with clients and our dedicated team has further responded by launching three remote pro bono initiatives: the Legal Hotline COVID-19 Initiative, the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project’s Small Business Remote Legal Clinic, and the Planning & Estates Law Project’s remote legal services for NYC front-line health care workers. To date, CBJC has provided legal assistance to over 900 clients with COVID-19 related legal problems and mobilized over 900 lawyers who volunteered to provide pro bono legal assistance. We look forward to the growing success of our COVID-19 programming to reach vulnerable communities as we learn how to provide Pro Bono 2.0 by building it as we go.
We hope that at this time you will continue supporting the City Bar Justice Center so we can provide life-changing legal assistance to disadvantaged New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are fortunate to have the means to do so, please make a contribution to support our work at the CBJC at this time. This newsletter will try to give you a sense of what is like to be on the front lines of the legal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our thanks go to all of the heroic medical personnel who work around the clock in NYC to save people. The legal piece comes later as families sort out the wreckage of an untimely death, lost earnings, and missed payments on co-ops, cars, and student loans. We will do our best to help. Thank you in advance for your ongoing support.
The City Bar Justice Center is honored to be working with such a dedicated and resilient team during these critical times. They show up to support each other and through collaboration, inspire creativity to promptly respond to the legal needs of disadvantaged New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis. Check out our Zoom team photo!
Free Legal Assistance & Support for NYC Front-Line Health Care Workers
Under the outstanding leadership of volunteers Pamela Ehrenkranz of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and Michael S. Arlein of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler,The Planning & Estates Law Project (PELP) launched an initiative to provide free, remote legal assistance to New York City front-line health care workers in preparing simple life-planning documents such as wills, powers of attorney, designation of standby guardians and health care proxies. Read more.
A Free Legal Hotline for New Yorkers with COVID-19 Civil Legal Issues
In anticipation of the increased demand for assistance with COVID-19-related legal issues, the Legal Hotlinehas expanded its program. While current staff are prepared and ready to serve callers, the Legal Hotline is also recruiting and training volunteer attorneys to provide New Yorkers with remote support on a range of topics, including: unemployment benefits, employment law, access to NYC courts, housing issues and consumer issues. Read more.
Supporting NYC Small Businesses During the Pandemic
The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) launched the COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic offering remote legal consultations to small business owners to help them understand and act upon options available under the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package and other opportunities available through federal, state and local programs. Other topics covered include contracts, labor and employment, tax, and insurance.We are grateful to long-standing partners such as Pro Bono Counsel Jacqueline Haberfeld of Kirkland & Ellis, and her team, for their invaluable role in launching this initiative. Also, thank you to pro bono partners including Cleary Gottlieb, Mayer Brown, Orrick, Proskauer and Sullivan & Cromwell, for providing volunteer training and developing essential resources for small businesses. Read more.
New! The Legal Clinic for the Homelessreleased a report on the lack of access to the Internet and technology in NYC homeless shelters and how it impacts families’ ability to transition out of the system. Further, the report highlights how lack of access to the Internet and technology creates significant academic barriers for homeless students – an issue that is suddenly front and center as schools moved to remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Click hereto view the full report.
A Resource for the NYC Immigrant Community: The Immigrant Justice Project developed an essential resource guide in Englishand Spanishfor immigrant communities on how to access food, health care, shelter, and other necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Save the date: The CBJC’s 15th Annual Gala honoring Venable LLP and MetLife, Inc. with the 2020 City Bar Justice Awards for their leadership and dedication to pro bono and public service is scheduled for September 24, 2020. Read more.
The Legal Clinic for the Homeless is on a Mission to Support New York City’s Most Vulnerable During COVID-19 By CBJC Staff | May 19, 2020
New Yorkers served by the City Bar Justice Center’sLegal Clinic for the Homeless (LCH) are among the most vulnerable community members who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. When the pandemic hit New York, most City Human Resources Administration (HRA) offices closed, cutting significant communications between the agency and public assistance recipients. Read about how LCH has been highly responsive in addressing the immediate needs of their clients, mainly homeless and poverty-stricken New Yorkers in need of essential public assistance benefits to make it through the pandemic. Read more.
With the support of our pro bono partners, theImmigrant Justice Project(IJP) continues to provide direct representation to its underserved clients. Recently, IJP won the release of a client who had been detained in an immigration detention center in Georgia for nearly six months and was vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. We are thrilled to report that not only has she been reunited with her mother, but her mother was recently granted permanent relief. The loss of jobs, healthcare access, and enforcement of the new public charge rule has brought many uncertainties to the immigrant community, especially those in mixed-status families. In response, IJP plans to develop remote events, including Q&A sessions on COVID-19 topics that are impacting the immigrant community. The team is also planning town halls with partner, community-based organizations.
Check out some of our latest blog posts and articles!