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Volunteer Lawyer Program and Volunteer Lawyer For the Day Training

The VLP AND VLFD program are looking for lawyers and law graduates to volunteer in the NYC Housing Court in exchange for CLE credit. Training will be held on June 14 & 15, 2017 in Manhattan. No previous Housing Court experience is necessary. To apply, email VLFDHousing@nycourts.govyour resume/CV. See the flyer for additional information.



LiveHelp Assistance Expanded on CourtHelp

LawHelpNY’s successful bilingual online chat LiveHelp service has been expanded to the Families & Children pages of the CourtHelp website. Visitors can click on the instant messaging button and LiveHelp trained operators, who are primarily law students, can help visitors navigate to helpful legal information on CourtHelp and LawHelp. LiveHelp operators can also help visitors navigate to legal services providers who may be able to help with their cases. In 2015, this service was added to eight Foreclsoure pages. The LiveHelp button is now available on an additional 43 Family Court related information pages on CourtHelp, including support, custody, paternity, adoption, and visitation. See e.g.: Read more about the expansion in the Press Release.

Summer and Fall 2017 Assigned Counsel Project Internship Program

The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program seeks enthusiastic and dedicated law student and recent law graduate volunteers for the Assigned Counsel Project Internship Program. Interns will assess the legal needs of vulnerable seniors at risk of eviction in Brooklyn or Queens Housing Courts and conduct intake for the Assigned Counsel Project (ACP). Responsibilities include working under the supervision of a Court Attorney to issue spot potential defenses and identify possible social service needs for the Supervising Judge to consider when triaging candidates for the ACP. Summer hours for the program are M-F, in shifts of 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM, or all day 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM from June to August. Participation in the program fulfills the 50-hour pro bono requirement. Deadline to apply for summer internships is May 22, 2017. More information including training dates and how to apply.

Attention College Students Looking for Summer Volunteer Opportunities

The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program’s Court Navigator Program is holding a two-part training session on May 25, 2017 for enthusiastic volunteers who want to assist unrepresented landlords and tenants in the New York City Housing Courts. Accepted students may attend one or both training sessions in exchange for 30 volunteer hours. The morning session trains volunteers to assist unrepresented litigants facing nonpayment proceedings. The afternoon session trains volunteers to assist unrepresented litigants preparing their court papers using the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Form computer programs. Volunteers may choose to help people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan or Queens. Court Navigators have the opportunity to obtain real life courtroom experience while helping people in need.

To apply, send your resume to: by May 19, 2017.


Medgar Evers College Students Train for Court Navigator Program

The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program’s Court Navigator Program recently trained 17 new volunteers from Medgar Evers College to assist landlords and tenants in Housing Courts throughout New York City. Since the program’s inception in 2014, countless Medgar Evers students have assisted unrepresented litigants in New York City Courts thanks to our close working relationship with the school. A special thank you to Medgar Evers College Student Life Coordinator Cheryl McNeil for helping to coordinate the training and her continuing efforts and support of the Court Navigator Program!

Since the Court Navigator Program began, over 490 volunteers have been trained to assist unrepresented litigants in New York City Courts. Volunteers working in the Housing Courts help people facing nonpayment proceedings in Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. College students who become Court Navigators have the opportunity to obtain real life courtroom experience while helping people in need. For more information, visit Court Navigator Program or email:

Check back here for information on upcoming trainings in May and June.


2016 Report

The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program issued its 2016 Report entitled, "Working Toward 100% Meaningful Access to Justice.” The Report describes the significant advances that the Access to Justice Program has made toward providing 100% meaningful access to justice for all through multi-faceted programs and initiatives aimed at filling the justice gap. Some highlights include an overview of the court-based programs, technology initiatives, community-based initiatives and simplification efforts. The Access to Justice Program thanks all of the partners, friends, volunteers and court personnel who helped make 2016 a success.

New Help Center

Ribbon cutting at the New York County Surrogate's Court Help Center
Chief Clerk Diana Sanabria, Surrogate Rita Mella, Justice Fern A. Fisher, & Surrogate Nora Anderson

On March 1, 2017, Judge Fern Fisher, Director of the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program, Surrogate Nora S. Anderson, Surrogate Rita Mella, and the New York County Surrogate’s Court Chief Clerk Diana Sanabria hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the NY County Surrogate’s Court Help Center. The Help Center is located in Room 500 of the NY County Surrogate’s Court and is staffed by an attorney. The Help Center will focus on issues such as the probate of wills, the administration of estates, and guardianships. In addition, there are DIY terminals available for unrepresented litigants to use to prepare papers for Small Estate Administrations, Article 17-A Guardianship Petitions, and Safe Deposit Box Petitions. In addition to using the DIY Form terminals, unrepresented litigants will also be able to obtain sample forms, and ask questions about court procedures. The location, address, and hours of operation are available on CourtHelp.

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