Coronavirus Daily Update: Governor Calls Upon NYSBA and Court System to Help Jobless NYers

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

With unemployment numbers reaching historic levels due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called upon the pro bono network formed by the state court system and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) to help jobless New Yorkers during this difficult time.

NYSBA will offer free-of-charge training for lawyers who are interested in volunteering from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14. The program is almost at capacity, with nearly 1,000 lawyers already signed up.  It will also be available for free on-demand after the webinar is complete. You can sign up for the last few spots in the webinar, Applying for Unemployment: Client Counseling Under the CARES Act, at https://nysba.org/events/applying-for-unemployment-client-counseling-under-the-cares-act-webinar/

“At this unprecedented moment in the life of our state and nation, I know that New York’s generous legal community will do everything it can to help suffering New Yorkers get back on their feet,” said Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. “At a time when lawyers’ lives, too, have been upended, I am sure I can count on New York lawyers to put the needs of society and their clients first.”

DiFiore also discussed the pro bono partnership with NYSBA in her latest address today and specially thanked NYSBA and President Hank Greenberg “for their commitment and leadership on this issue and throughout this difficult period.”

“The governor rightly recognizes that people across the state are hurting as a result of the economic crisis caused by this unprecedented public health crisis, and we all need to pitch in to be part of the solution,” said Greenberg. “Just as he has issued a call for health care professionals to volunteer on the front lines of the fight against this virus, we are calling on lawyers to do what they do best — help New Yorkers put their lives back together.

“In times of crisis, lawyers and law firms have always met their professional obligation to protect the rights of those who cannot afford an attorney. We saw that during 9/11. We are seeing that again now,” Greenberg added.

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, of counsel at Latham & Watkins and the coordinator of the pro bono network, expressed confidence that attorneys across New York will heed this call to action and meet the challenge the governor has laid out.

“With the backing of the New York State court system and the New York State Bar Association, our network is getting off to a strong start,” Lippman said. “I want to personally thank the governor for helping the state through this crisis and bringing attention to how our partnership can help those whose lives have been upended by the virus.”

While the network is focusing first on New Yorkers who have lost their jobs, going forward it will also address the many other legal needs that will undoubtedly arise as a result of the pandemic.

New York’s existing network of pro bono and public defense attorneys was already strained prior to COVID-19. The state court system and NYSBA are taking this action to ensure that all New Yorkers can exercise their right to legal counsel at a time when the need for legal services will likely be higher than ever before.

Lawyers who are interested in joining this cause should go to https://nysba.org/covidvolunteer/to sign up. If you have specific questions about volunteering, please contact us via e-mail: [email protected].

For more information regarding the partnership: https://nysba.org/ny-state-court-system-joins-with-new-york-state-bar-association-to-launch-pro-bono-network-to-respond-to-pandemic/.

In addition, the New York State Bar Association has transformed its website and social media accounts into hubs of legal information regarding the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more at: https://nysba.org/coronavirus.

Regional Approach for Restarting Economy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today a regional approach to restarting the economy by creating a multi-state council with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island.

The coordinating group – comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective chief of staff to the governor from each state – will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus.

The group says it will use every tool available to accomplish the goal of easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread, including testing, contact tracing, treatment and social distancing. They will also rely on the best available scientific, statistical, social and economic information to manage and evaluate those tools.

COVID-19 Webinars

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, NYSBA will host two other coronavirus-related webinars. Click the links below for more details and to register.

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Incarcerated Individuals – for lawyers advising their clients and legal implications.
  • Persuasive Legal Writing in the Age of COVID-19 – Justice Gerald Lebovits will explore the future of advocacy in state and federal court and conclude that written advocacy will become even more important than it is now.

Latest NYSBA.ORG Coronavirus News

We are adding new content each day to our website related to the coronavirus public health emergency and its impact on the legal community.

Today we have an article about how help-averse lawyers are grappling with helplessness due to coronavirus. Also, Brad Karp, chairman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, discusses breaking down barriers that are preventing people from accessing coronavirus emergency relief. Karp and partners Robert Atkins and Michael E. Gertzman are guests on this week’s episode of the Miranda Warnings podcast.

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