FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Anita Aboulafia 212-267-6646, ext. 225, email@example.com
NYCLA AND NY COUNTY CIVIL COURT SPONSOR PRO BONO PROJECT FOR PRO SE DEBTOR DEFENDANTS IN NY COUNTY CIVIL COURT
OCTOBER 29, 2008 – NEW YORK, NY – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) and New York County Civil Court will jointly sponsor a two-evening training session on Wednesday, November 5 and Monday, November 10 from 6:00-8:00 PM for lawyers volunteering for a pro bono project that assists consumers being sued by creditors in New York County Civil Court. The pro bono project, called Manhattan CLARO (Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office), is being expanded in response to the rise in consumer debt cases in New York County, which has a significant share of the 350,000 cases that have recently been reported citywide.
The training will be held at the New York County Civil Court, 111 Centre Street (White Street entrance). Volunteer attorneys must attend both training sessions to participate in the program. MCLE credits will be awarded upon completion of six hours of service.
Low- and moderate-income New Yorkers have a pressing need for legal assistance on a host of consumer law issues, particularly consumer debt. Consumer debt cases have inundated the Civil Court; the docket has grown exponentially (accounting for the largest portion of Civil Court matters) and more than doubled in the last five years. Civil Court consumer cases can be overwhelming for pro se litigants; for example, many litigants learn of the suit after their wages have already been garnished or their bank accounts frozen. CLARO provides advice-only pro bono assistance to pro se litigants with consumer debt matters in Civil Court. The project is a collaborative effort with Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice.
Once trained, volunteers will provide advice to pro se litigants in the New York County Civil Court’s Resource Center. Volunteers may schedule their service at their convenience during daytime hours most days of the week or on Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 PM.
To volunteer, NYCLA members can contact Lois Davis, director of Pro Bono Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register. Non-members can register for the training program by contacting Laurie Milder, special counsel, Civil Court Volunteer Lawyer Projects, at email@example.com.
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual identity. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
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