U.S. Eastern District Court and City Bar Justice Center Launch Innovative Pro Se Legal Clinic
New York, June 22, 2015 – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the City Bar Justice Center have collaborated to launch the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project (FedPro), a pilot project to provide information, advice, and limited-scope legal assistance to people proceeding pro se in a variety of federal civil cases in the Eastern District of New York.
FedPro, which operates out of an office in the Eastern District’s Brooklyn courthouse, has access to the resources of the City Bar Justice Center, including supervision, malpractice insurance, computer equipment, a cloud-based case management system, support on client counseling and legal issues, and a wide pro bono network.
“The Eastern District of New York is taking the lead in providing much-needed assistance to pro se litigants,” said Chief Judge Carol B. Amon, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. “The program is showing early promise of great success.”
Lynn M. Kelly, Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center, the pro bono services affiliate of the New York City Bar Association, said, “We are pleased to partner on this innovative pilot project to expand legal assistance for people pursuing or defending claims in court and who cannot afford attorneys.”
FedPro’s project director is Nancy Rosenbloom, an experienced civil rights litigator. Over 100 people have sought free legal consultation from FedPro since the courthouse office opened this spring. Cases have ranged from employment discrimination and other civil rights matters to small business disputes and mortgage foreclosure actions.
FedPro receives referrals from District Judges, Magistrate Judges, the Court Clerk’s office, and word of mouth, and has received early positive feedback from court personnel as well as clients. As the work progresses, FedPro is developing informational material and forms, and tracking data to measure results and refine the model.
This summer FedPro will add a student intern as well as a rotation of pro bono attorneys from participating firms who will be of counsel to the City Bar Justice Center. Law student externs or clinic students are expected to join the Project in the fall.
The Court and the Justice Center are planning a ribbon-cutting event for the FedPro office at a date to be announced.
About the City Bar Justice Center
The City Bar Justice Center, the pro bono affiliate of the New York City Bar Association, increases access to justice by leveraging the resources of the New York City legal community. The Justice Center operates the city’s busiest legal hotline and annually provides direct legal representation, information and advocacy to over 20,000 poor and vulnerable New Yorkers in areas including foreclosure, bankruptcy, elderlaw, homelessness, veterans assistance, cancer advocacy and several immigration projects.