BUFFALO, N.Y. – New York State’s chief judge, Hon.
Jonathan Lippman, will be at the University at Buffalo Law School
on Oct. 3 to hear testimony about the unmet needs for civil legal
services in the state, and what it will take to meet those
Oral testimony at the hearing is by invitation only. Among those
testifying are Makau Mutua, dean of the UB Law School; and two law
students, Emily Dinsmore and Kerisha Hawthorne.
This is the fourth year that Lippman has conducted a series of
public hearings on the issue. He has made access to justice a
priority of his judgeship, most notably by imposing a requirement
that aspiring attorneys perform 50 hours of pro bono legal
services before they can sit for the state bar exam.
The hearing at the UB Law School, representing the Fourth
Department of the Appellate Division, is the last of four hearings
Lippman will hold this year. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
in the Francis M. Letro Courtroom, on the first floor of
Lippman will be joined at the hearing by Hon. Henry J. Scudder,
presiding justice of the Fourth Department; Chief Administrative
Judge A. Gail Prudenti; and David M. Schraver, president of the New
York State Bar Association.
Individuals and organizations are invited to express their views
on a number of related issues:
● The impact of Judiciary Civil Legal Services funding,
which is set at $40 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
● How well civil legal services are being provided to
low-income New Yorkers confronting legal problems involving the
“essentials of life,” including housing, family
stability and personal safety in domestic relations, access to
health care or education, and subsistence income and benefits.
● The impact of natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy,
on the legal services that low-income New Yorkers need, and the
experience of legal services providers in responding to those
● The economic and social consequences of the lack of
sufficient civil legal services in communities and for the
● The costs and benefits, to the courts and to
communities, of providing civil legal services in matters involving
the “essentials of life.”
● The particular problems affecting the availability of
legal services in rural communities and how to address them.
● The potential to meet more legal needs through
preventive and early intervention services; enhanced use of
technology; expanding the availability of pro bono legal
services by private attorneys; greater law school and law student
involvement through clinical, experiential and fellowship options
for students; and programs being developed to help law students to
complete their 50 required hours of pro bono service.
The deadline has passed for speakers, but the chief judge will
also accept written comments. They must be sent by Oct. 26 to CivilLegalServices@nycourts.gov
or by postal mail to the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal
Services in New York, c/o Jessica Klein, Sullivan & Cromwell,
125 Broad St., New York, NY 10004-2498.
Lippman will report on the results of these hearings to the
State Legislature and will request state funding to address unmet
Further information is available on the task force’s