June 3, 2013
New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced last week the members of a committee charged with examining the role that appropriately trained and qualified non-lawyer advocates can play in bridging New York’s justice gap.
“The availability of affordable, meaningful legal representation is a critical priority, fundamental to the Judiciary’s core mission of ensuring equal justice under the Law,” said Chief Judge Lippman. “Regrettable, even with the millions of pro bono service hours so generously provided each year by members of New York’s legal profession, we simply cannot keep keep pace–particularly in these uncertain economic times–with the growing need for civil legal assistance among New Yorkers of modest means in matters involving their most basic needs.”
Among its members, the Committee on Non-Lawyers and the Justice Gap includes Professor Natalie Gomez-Velez, New York State Court of Appeals Judge and former CUNY Law professor Jenny Rivera, and Dean of Albany Law School and former CUNY Law Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Penelope Andrews.
The committee is expected to deliver its preliminary recommendations for pilot programs in November.