Daily Coronavirus Update: COVID-19 Recovery Task Force Appointed to Oversee Pro Bono Network, First Department Issues New Rules

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

The New York State Bar Association, in partnership with the state court system, has established a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to oversee the pro bono network of lawyers who will be assisting New Yorkers suffering from the pandemic.

At Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s urging, the network’s first task is dispatching lawyers to help jobless workers — whose ranks have swelled under the state’s economic slowdown — apply for unemployment benefits. But the network is quickly gearing up to handle a range of other issues, from evictions to domestic violence to job and housing discrimination.

“The blue-ribbon panel we have assembled includes some of the best minds the New York legal community has to offer,” said Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. “I have the utmost confidence that this panel will ensure that those who are in desperate need of legal help will get the assistance they need.”

NYSBA President Henry M. Greenberg has directed the task force to focus on setting priorities, recruiting lawyers, coordinating resources and connecting lawyers and clients.

“I’m so grateful that at this difficult time in their own lives, the members of this task force are giving of themselves to help those who are less fortunate,” Greenberg said. “We can always count on the generosity of New York’s lawyers and I’m proud to be part of this effort. I know that this esteemed panel will act quickly to ease the anguish of fellow New Yorkers.”

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, of counsel at Latham & Watkins and coordinator of the network, said he looks forward to the challenge.

“This esteemed panel brings a depth of experience and perspectives to the task we have at hand — making sure that those who need a lawyer get help as quickly as humanly possible,” Lippman said. “We will work tirelessly because we realize that New Yorkers need us now.”

Click here for a full listing of all the task force members.

First Department Expands Virtual Court

The Appellate Division, First Department, which covers the Bronx and New York counties, has announced that it is expanding its virtual court operations.

Through its virtual court model using Skype, the court will handle calendaring of appeals and motions, the scheduling of pre-argument conferences, admitting attorneys to the bar and the processing of attorney grievance complaints.

The court has also issued an order setting forth two special terms – in May, which will commence on May 4 and end on May 29 and June, which will commence on June 1 and end on June 26.

The remote oral arguments will be livestreamed on the court’s website. There will be no adjournments.

Click here for more details.

New Executive Order Requires Masks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that he is issuing a new executive order requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation.

The new order goes into effect on Friday, April 17th.

COVID-19 Webinars

On Thursday, April 16, NYSBA will host three coronavirus-related webinars. Click the links below for more details and to register.

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 take a look at how coronavirus impacted the state budget process and how legal writing is more important than ever during the pandemic.

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