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New York StateUnified Court System

Prospective Guardians Ad Litem


In General
Role of a Guardian
Compensation
Training and CLE Credit
Practical Workshop Series
Application Process
GAL Frequently Asked Questions
Testimonials- See What Other GALs are Saying About the Program

 

In General

The Guardian Ad Litem Program seeks dedicated and responsible people interested in being trained to become a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in Housing Court. While most GALs are attorneys, it is not necessary to be an attorney to become a GAL in Housing Court. Yet, it is necessary that the prospective GAL have some legal or social service background.

If you need additional information, feel free to call or send an email to Denise Colón‑Greenaway, Esq., MSW, Special Counsel for Court‑Based Interdisciplinary Programs, at (646) 386‑5408 or at GALCivil@courts.state.ny.us.

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Role of a Guardian

Court appointed GALs are expected to advocate on behalf of their ward with the goal of making any necessary interventions to prevent eviction. Although the specific responsibilities of a GAL vary according to the case, common duties often include: making court appearances, coordinating with social service agencies in an effort to secure needed entitlements or services, and negotiating settlements with other parties involved in the case. Service may be performed in any of the five boroughs.

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Compensation

Upon consent, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) will compensate GALs for their work upon completion of a case, provided the ward is also an active APS client at the time of the appointment or becomes an active client during the course of the GAL’s representation, and provided the GAL complies with specific minimum requirements. Compensation is fixed at $750 per case for any appointments made on or after January 1, 2017.

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Training, CLE Credit, and Pro-bono Work

The GAL Program offers FREE training to prospective GALs throughout the year. Trainings are either offered “live” or a video replay is given of the latest “live” training. Attorneys are provided with free CLE credits (including 1 Ethics credit) upon completion of the training.* GALs are required to accept at least 3 pro bono appointments per year. Pro bono appointments are appointments involving a ward that is not a client of Adult Protective Services (APS) and therefore do not carry compensation. For information on the GAL program's next training date, go to news and announcements. To read what people are saying about the Guardian Ad Litem training program, refer to GAL training feedback.

*Please note that attorneys admitted to the NY State Bar for less than two years cannot receive CLE credit for watching video replays, but are welcome to participate in the GAL Program.

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Practical Workshop Series

The Practical Skills Workshop Series consists of workshops designed to supplement initial training provided to GALs and address issues relevant to their work. Workshops are facilitated by guest speakers with extensive knowledge on the respective topic. The workshops physically take place at 111 Centre Street in New York County.

Past workshop topics have included:

• The Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act of 2019
• Accessing Affordable Housing, Resources, and Housing Rights
• Effective Strategies for Conferencing and Negotiating Cases with a Landlord Attorney, Court Attorney, or Judge
• Elder Abuse and Housing Court
• Best Practices for Drafting Language in Probationary Stipulations
• Nuts and Bolts of Non-primary Residence Holdovers
• GALs and Vicarious Trauma
• ADA Accommodations in Court
• Housing and Domestic Violence

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Application Process

Submission of a completed application, resume, and two professional references is a necessary pre-requisite to attending the GAL training. If you are interested in becoming a GAL, you should first obtain an application form. Once complete, please print and forward all necessary documents to the following address:

Civil Court of the City of New York
Guardian Ad Litem Program
111 Centre Street, Rm. 1035
New York, NY 10013
Attn: Denise Colon-Greenaway, Esq., MSW

Someone from the Program will contact you as soon as the next training date is established.* At that time, you will be asked to participate in an interview and undergo a free background check. Only candidates who successfully complete the interview and background check will be invited to participate in the GAL training.