December 16, 2013
photo: In October, this year’s newest fellows gathered in New York County Housing Court to begin an intensive training and mentoring in-court program for law graduates before beginning to work with their clients.
This fall’s newest group of LaunchPad for Justice fellows are already beginning to leave their mark in New York’s housing court. One team of fellows negotiated a stipulation with a significant abatement for needed repairs, and the eviction case was discontinued. Another team of fellows was able to get $16,000 of back rent waived for a tenant. Although that tenant will have to vacate, he will not be saddled with that crushing debt.
LaunchPad fellows have been securing rights for tenants in New York’s housing courts since 2009. The LaunchPad program is an initiative of the Community Legal Resource Network (CLRN) at CUNY Law that enables recent graduates to represent clients before being admitted to the New York State Bar.
When the program first launched, the Hon. Fern Fisher, deputy chief administrative judge and director of the New York State Court’s Access to Justice Program, spoke about the fellows and said that CUNY Law’s "intensive clinical program has primed them to work with litigants to quickly grasp the skills they need to be effective in court." She added that "their efforts will go far in helping those without access to legal education."
The program is run in collaboration with Judge Fisher and is made possible by generous grants from the New York Community Trust and the New York State Judiciary Civil Legal Service Fund.