City Bar Justice Center’s Public Service Network Places 1,000th Volunteer Lawyer

The Public Service Network, a City Bar Justice Center initiative, is celebrating the placement of its 1,000th volunteer this week. Formed in 1997, the Public Service Network encourages lawyers to engage in public service by matching attorneys with legal and non-legal volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector. To date, the Network’s volunteers have contributed over 150,000 hours of service, valued at over $20.5 million.

The Public Service Network has partnered with over 300 nonprofit organizations that work in areas such as human rights, education, social services, the environment, labor rights and racial justice. Attorneys have been matched with nonprofits, including Advocates for Children, the New York Women’s Foundation, El Museo del Barrio, inMotion, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and the Jazz Foundation of America, where they work on projects that range from direct client representation to board membership, policy research and mentoring youth.

New York City Bar President Samuel W. Seymour said, “We’re proud of the central role the City Bar Justice Center plays in matching volunteers with opportunities and increasing access to justice for New Yorkers in need. To have placed 1,000 volunteers is a wonderful milestone for the Public Service Network.”

The Network was created under the leadership of former New York City Bar President John D. Feerick, and has continued under the guidance of an advisory committee, currently chaired by Thomas Maligno. “For me the best part of being a member of the Public Service Network is learning from the attorney volunteers about how satisfying the experience has been, and also hearing from the placement agencies about the fact that our attorneys are making a difference in the lives of New Yorkers,” said Maligno.

While the Network originally focused on seeking opportunities for attorneys who were preparing for retirement and wanted to use their skills in service of the community, the Network now serves attorneys in all stages of their careers. In 2010, 59% of the Network’s new volunteers are junior level attorneys and 29% are recent graduates, many of whom are in job transition.

Attorney Elana Kermaier is one such volunteer. After having her second child and moving from Hong Kong back to New York, Elana wasn’t ready for a full-time position but was looking for a volunteer opportunity in which she could explore her interests in family and matrimonial law. She was placed with InMotion, where she assisted women with filing their pro se paperwork to initiate divorce or child custody proceedings. Elana found that the assistance provided by the Public Service Network was very helpful in navigating this transitional stage of her life.

For more information about the Public Service Network please visit