NYSBA in the News: Advocating for our Members, Assisting Unemployed New Yorkers

By Brendan Kennedy

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The COVID-19 public health crisis and subsequent economic slowdown have impacted every aspect of the legal world. From increasing the need for certain legal services to prompting states to postpone the bar exam, the pandemic has led to many questions and concerns. NYSBA has been working to get answers for our members and to provide assistance to all New Yorkers.

The Buffalo News quoted NYSBA President Hank Greenberg in a story about free legal services available for people who’ve had their jobless benefits claims denied.

New Yorkers turned down in their bid for jobless benefits may now receive legal help free of charge from the New York State Bar Association, said its president Henry M. Greenberg.

More than 1,500 attorneys throughout the state attended NYSBA’s training program, and will be matched with jobless workers who have been unsuccessful in securing benefits, Greenberg said.

WBNG-TV, the Southern Tier’s CBS affiliate, interviewed NYSBA President Hank Greenberg about the pro bono legal help available to New Yorkers that have had their unemployment claims denied.

“Providing assistance to those who can’t afford an attorney. Particularly when they’re in dire need, it’s one of the highest, and noblest callings that a lawyer can perform,” said New York State Bar Association President Hank Greenberg.

The association has built a network of nearly 800 attorneys ready to volunteer their time and services to help individuals appeal denied insurance claims. Greenberg says at least 1.4 million New Yorkers are newly unemployed, all seeking unemployment benefits.

WENY News, a CBS and ABC affiliate in the Southern Tier, also reported on the NYSBA effort to offer free legal aid for denied unemployment insurance applicants.

WENY News

CNY Central also reported on NYSBA’s offer for pro bono service to those denied an unemployment insurance claim.

The New York State Bar Association says it will help you for free if you are denied an unemployment insurance claim.

The president of the association says more than 700 attorneys throughout the state have signed up to help and have all been trained on these cases.

They say it’s best to use this service as quickly as possible since claimants only have 30 days to challenge a denied claim for unemployment insurance.

Rochester First, a Nexstar Media Group news website, quoted NYSBA President Hank Greenberg in a story about the pro bono effort launched by NYSBA and the state court system.

New York State Bar Association President Hank Greenberg says it is always a smart move to challenge these decisions with a lawyer present:

“There are studies that show that people who are represented by counsel fare better if they are represented by themselves.,” said Greenberg.

“There are pockets of New York State where it’s very very difficult for the poor and middle class to get legal assistance,” Greenberg said. “Add on top of that COVID 19, and that access to justice crisis widens into a canyon.”

The New York Law Journal quoted NYSBA President Hank Greenberg in a story about the potential impacts on law firms and attorneys from plans to reopen businesses as “New York on Pause” winds down.

Hank Greenberg, president of the New York State Bar Association, said the reopening period carries “enormous” importance to the legal profession statewide.

Many lawyers have transitioned to virtual operations, he said, but the benefits of office operations are unavoidable. In-person interactions make it easier to empathically listen to a distressed client, he said, and brainstorming ideas and collaboration is more effective in a physical law office.

“The perfect truth is [that] practicing law is a team effort in many cases,” he said.

He anticipated that commercial lawyers are going to be immersed in a raft of issues from their clients, including human resources, public health and liability topics.

WRGB-TV, the Capital Region’s CBS affiliate, interviewed NYSBA President Hank Greenberg about the association’s program to connect New Yorkers who have been denied unemployment benefits with pro bono lawyers who can assist them with their claims.

New York State Bar Association President Hank Greenberg says it is always a smart move to challenge these decisions with a lawyer present.

“There are studies that show that people who are represented by counsel fare better if they are represented by themselves,” Greenberg said.

But attorneys fees may be a big expense for someone who has lost their income, so the Bar Association started a new website to get someone pro bono, or free, legal representation if their unemployment insurance claim is denied.

Spectrum News quoted Greenberg in its reporting about the effort:

The New York State Bar Association and state court system are offering pro bono legal services for people who need help in securing unemployment benefits.

Starting this week, NYSBA says that people can go to their website and be matched with a lawyer that will help them through the appeal process, free of charge if their unemployment claims were denied.

“We know that unemployment benefits are a lifeline for many families, and we welcome the opportunity to provide assistance,” said NYSBA President Henry Greenberg.

New York Times Albany Bureau Chief Jesse McKinley tweeted the link to the NYSBA website.

Both the Albany Times-Union and Mid-Hudson News also reported on the effort, which NYSBA has undertaken in partnership with the state court system.

The state’s court system and the New York State Bar Association are creating a system to help New Yorkers who are trying to secure unemployment benefits and appealing claims that are denied.

The website, www.nysba.org/legalhelp, will provide resources for filing a claim and match pro bono attorneys with clients who’ve had their claims denied.

Separately, the Albany Times-Union mentioned the NYSBA Task Force on the New York Bar Examination in a story about the Court of Appeals waiving the Pro Bono Scholars Program and Skills Competency Requirement for Admission for law school students set to graduate this spring.

The Court of Appeals also is waiving the Skills Competency Requirement for Admission that requires bar applicants to establish they have acquired the skills and professional values necessary to competently practice law. It can normally be satisfied four different ways – one of which is completion of the Pro Bono Scholars Program.

Bar applicants still must complete the online New York Law Course and open book New York Law Examination, [Chief Judge Janet] DiFiore said. But the Court of Appeals temporarily waived the requirement that applicants complete the courses within a year of taking the Uniform Bar Exam. The waiver is for any applicant who completed the courses after July 2019 and takes the Uniform Bar Exam no later than 2021.

As mentioned in this space earlier this month, members of a New York State Bar Association task force revealed that some New York bar applicants regard the NYLE to be a “joke.”

 

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