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Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program - Housing


Prospective Volunteer Attorneys

General Overview
How it Works
Training & CLE Credits
Volunteer Commitment
VLFD Pilot Project
Hear What Volunteers are Saying About the Program
Read What Volunteers are Saying About the VLFD Program
Submit An Application

 

General Overview

The Volunteer Lawyer for the Day (VLFD) Program offers unrepresented litigants in nonpayment proceedings the opportunity to have lawyers represent them during their appearances in the Resolution Part of Housing Court. During the 2014 spring and summer months, the Program will operate in Kings County on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Program will resume again in additional counties in the fall.

Participating lawyers provide unrepresented litigants -- either tenants or owners/landlords -- with limited scope representation. In other words, the volunteer lawyer handles the portion of the litigant's nonpayment case that takes place in the Resolution Part, not the entire matter.

By volunteering, lawyers help some of the thousands of unrepresented tenants threatened with the loss of their homes and unrepresented landlords in financial or other distress. Volunteer lawyers can find out what it is like to be a courtroom lawyer, even if they do not have litigation experience. Volunteer lawyers can develop client interviewing and courtroom skills.

For more information, contact: Yacine Barry-Wun, Esq., Special Counsel for Housing Court Initiatives, at (646) 386-5146 or email VLFDHousing@courts.state.ny.us.

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How it Works

In the VLFD Program, the volunteer lawyer and the client meet the morning of the court appearance and sign a retainer agreement for just that day’s appearance. The lawyer serves and files a Limited Notice of Appearance with the Court. The lawyer then appears on the landlord's or tenant’s behalf for the day.

In the Resolution Part, parties discuss the case before a judge or court attorney to see if a settlement is possible. Cases are often resolved by a Stipulation of Settlement written in court. Volunteer lawyers are supervised by a knowledgeable Program Coordinator who reviews the cases, discusses strategy, and approves the stipulations. The representation is complete at the end of the day, whether the case is resolved or not.

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Training and CLE Credits

The VLFD Program offers volunteer lawyers 3.5 credit hours of free CLE, which includes topics covering ethics and professionalism and areas of professional practice.The subjects of the CLE seminar are:

  • Nonpayment Proceedings
  • Ethics of Unbundled Representation
  • Negotiating & writing Stipulations of Settlement in Housing Court         

Lawyers must complete the seminar to participate in the VLFD Program. For training updates, check the Civil Court's news and announcements or email VLFDHousing@courts.state.ny.us.

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Volunteer Commitment

Participating lawyers commit to provide a minimum of two-days of service in the Housing Court, Resolution Part over a six month period. As most cases in the Resolution Part are resolved by 1:00 p.m., this commitment generally amounts to a total of ten hours. However, volunteers should be prepared to be in court from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on each volunteer day for any exceptions.

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VLFD Pilot Project

From November 2006 - March 2007, the Civil Court, in conjunction with the Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Services to Persons of Moderate Means, Subcommittee on Unbundled Legal Services, and the Fordham Law School Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution ran a pilot project, to test unbundled legal services in litigated matters as a means to alleviate unmet legal needs. The Civil Court recruited, trained and supervised volunteer lawyers to represent litigants at their initial court appearance in Housing Court. This program is modeled after the pilot project. Read the Pilot Project Report to learn more.

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Hear What Volunteers are Saying About the Program

Watch a short video and hear what lawyers who have volunteered in the program said about the experience.

Video Icon VIDEO (run time: 1.5 minutes, wmv format)

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Text Transcript Also Available

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Submit an Application

To register for the next training, please submit an application to be a Volunteer Lawyer for the Day. Check back often to see when the program expands to other courthouses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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