✨See what the City Bar Justice Center has been up to this summer!
Dear CBJC Friend,
Many of us began this summer filled with gratitude and hope for a brighter future for New York City. Even as the Delta variant and political upheaval temper some of our optimism, I believe that all restorative processes involve the discipline of leaning into hope amidst challenges. On our end, this has included taking time off to refresh and reset in preparation for developments in store for the City Bar Justice Center. The last few weeks have been an invigorating time for our organization, from preparing work plans as we think creatively about enhancing the work of existing projects, collaborating with an enthusiastic group of interns who contributed their unique talents to support our varying needs, to preparing for a hybrid return to the office.
Though the COVID pandemic is not coming to an end anytime soon, both the New York City Bar Association (City Bar) and City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) are embracing New York City’s Key to NYC program, with a plan to safely reopen in-person services beginning September 7 by requiring all visitors to the City Bar building and CBJC’s offices (as well as staff in the building) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of that date, we expect our building to be open during regular business hours, five days a week. More details about City Bar building hours and the vaccination policy will be available on the City Bar website later this week. I believe reopening sends an important signal to our clients and stakeholders – namely, that we are invested in recovery and in building a more equitable New York City – and if there is anything that the pandemic has taught me, it is that our resilient team is adaptable and more than prepared to readjust when confronted with unexpected changes. We will maintain safety protocols – our vaccination requirement for in-office services being paramount – and will of course adhere to all present and any future New York mandates and overall health guidance. We will continue working to ensure that our services remain accessible to clients and volunteers alike (including by maintaining a level of virtual programming) and that our projects are responsive to the growing needs of New Yorkers dealing with the pandemic’s effects and the promise of recovery.
This issue of our newsletter will highlight our team’s recent accomplishments and milestones including celebrating a year since the successful launch of our #Wifi4Homeless advocacy campaign, reflecting on the contributions of our energetic class of summer interns, welcoming new staff, and more! The City Bar Justice Center is also pleased to push forward with its Summer Appeal, driven by the theme “Serving Justice, Inspiring Change.” Please help underwrite our COVID Recovery and Equity Initiative and donate todayto our effort that will harness the talent and resources of the CBJC community to address the leading edge of pandemic recovery pro bono needs.
I wish you a bright and safe wrap-up of your summer!
A special thank you to our 2021 summer interns! This summer, CBJC welcomed twelve enthusiastic undergraduate and law school students to our dynamic internship program. Working across our several projects and departments, our summer interns contributed significant work using their diverse skillsets and experiences, and through their shared commitment to furthering access to justice for New Yorkers in need. Read their reflections in this article.
Celebrating a year since the launch of our #Wifi4Homeless advocacy campaign. The City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the New York City Bar Association released an impact report profiling the #Wifi4Homeless advocacy campaign, a collaborative movement fueled by a call to secure New Yorkers experiencing homelessness with reliable internet and access to essential technology. The report includes a detailed timeline of how the City Bar generated policy change at the city and state levels, highlighting important milestones reached with the support of staff, community partners, and pro bono supporters – all of whom share a deep commitment to close New York’s digital divide. Learn more!
Our Homeowner Stability Project (HSP) fuels its community outreach efforts this summer! This summer, HSP led an outreach initiative funded by the Center for New York City Neighborhoods to (1) make homeowners who may be at risk of tax lien default aware of their rights and options, (2) bring housing counseling, financial counseling, and legal services directly to vulnerable homeowners, (3) raise awareness around scam prevention, and (4) promote stabilizing programs and assistance available to NYC homeowners. HSP conducted extensive outreach to over 100 New York City homeowners through door-knocking trips and mailings, and nearly 3,600 individuals through online and social media outreach.
Our Cancer Advocacy Project published a beginner’s guide on wills and advance directives. This client resource, produced with the support of Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert, contains essential information that serves as a starting point for New Yorkers beginning to formulate their estate planning objectives. Learn more.
The City Bar Justice Center kicked off its Summer Appeal, “Serving Justice, Inspiring Change!” The pandemic touched us all but weighed most heavily on those already deeply burdened by systemic barriers. Because of that, recovery and hoped-for growth towards racial equity and broader social justice require a fresh commitment. Today, your donation helps underwrite our COVID Recovery and Equity Initiative, an effort by our team to address our clients’ most pressing pandemic recovery needs, particularly concerning consumer debt relief, vulnerable homeowner stability, and small business recovery. Donate.
We are excited to announce that Jean Soo Park recently joined our team as Director of the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project (Fed Pro)! Ms. Park will lead Fed Pro’s programming assisting pro se plaintiffs and defendants on a range of federal legal issues including civil rights, employment discrimination, and disability discrimination. The following interview offers a closer look at Ms. Park’s impressive professional and personal path leading up to this role, and insights on what she sees in store for Fed Pro and its clients. Learn more.
Because the legal needs of small businesses are changing as New York enters a pandemic recovery phase, our Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) and its leading partners, including Lawyers for Good Government and Kirkland & Ellis, have decided to wind down the COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic. Since its launch in April 2020, during the COVID outbreak, nearly 950 attorneys from 100 law firms participated in this initiative and collectively served more than 1,200 clients. NELP will continue its ongoing work assisting microentrepreneurs and small businesses with non-COVID-19 related legal issues and shift to addressing the emerging needs of small businesses striving to navigate and survive – if not thrive – in a post-pandemic world. Thank you to our partners and volunteers for your remarkable contributions. We look forward to your continued support!
Save the date. Mark your calendars as the City Bar Justice Center plans for upcoming annual programming. Stay tuned for more information!
October 26, 2021: 2021 Celebrate Pro Bono Awards Ceremony
November 11, 2021: Veterans Day Annual Breakfast & CLE Ethics Training
April 6, 2022: City Bar Justice Center Annual Gala