City Bar Justice Center Announces Pro Bono Legal Hotline COVID-19 Expansion
New York, May 12, 2020 – The COVID-19 crisis has devastated New York City and disproportionately impacted low-income communities served by the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC). In response, the CBJC has launched the Legal Hotline COVID-19 Expansion, a pro bono initiative in response to the urgent legal needs of underserved New Yorkers.
CBJC’s free Legal Hotline, the largest operation of its kind in New York, is staffed by attorneys who typically handle 1,000 calls a month from low-income individuals seeking legal assistance on a wide range of civil legal issues. Staff includes bilingual attorneys who speak English and Spanish and accept calls in any language through interpreting services. They provide support through legal advice, information, brief services and referrals.
In anticipation of the increased demand for assistance with COVID-19-related legal issues, the Legal Hotline has expanded its program to respond to callers seeking help. While current staff are prepared and ready to serve callers, the Legal Hotline is also recruiting and training volunteer attorneys to provide New Yorkers with remote support on a range of COVID-19 legal issues, including: unemployment benefits, employment law, access to NYC courts, housing issues and consumer issues.
“We are extremely grateful to our volunteer attorneys for their commitment to this initiative,” said Legal Hotline Director Libby Vazquez. “By offering their legal knowledge and skills, they are making possible the Justice Center’s mission to serve vulnerable communities in New York City during times of crisis.”
Several key pro bono partners of CBJC have made the Hotline COVID-19 expansion possible in a short period of time by contributing training materials, including Jenner & Block, Paul Hastings, and Paul Weiss, as well as a group of National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) volunteers. CBJC Pro Bono Counsel Kurt M. Denk said, “These and another half-dozen firms and corporate legal departments have been crucial partners in this effort, quickly organizing cohorts of attorney volunteers to take referred matters from the Hotline and making themselves available for brief counsel and advice on COVID-19 concerns.”
Additional prospective attorney volunteers are welcome to contact Kurt Denk to learn more.
To contact the Legal Hotline, call 212-626-7383 or apply for help online.
About the City Bar Justice Center
The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) increases access to justice by leveraging the resources of the New York City legal community. The CBJC operates the city’s largest civil legal hotline and annually provides direct legal representation, information and advocacy to over 20,000 poor and vulnerable New Yorkers in areas including immigration, veterans assistance, homelessness, trusts and estates, cancer advocacy, and elderlaw. www.citybarjusticecenter.org