New York’s chief judge will propose a $100 million increase in state financing for lawyers who represent the poor in civil cases that deal with “the essentials of life” like eviction and child support, the New York Times reported.
“The proposal by the chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, is to be released on Wednesday,” the report said. “If approved by the Legislature, it would provide a major source of financing for lawyers for the poor and be a striking acknowledgment that the state’s court system is being overwhelmed by some 2.3 million people a year who cannot afford representation. While criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, people fighting civil cases are not.”
“This would be by several measures the most significant commitment to civil justice any state legislature has made in the country,” said Don Saunders, a vice president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the largest national group of lawyers for the poor. “There is nothing even close to that.”
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On Friday, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association awarded Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph (center) the 2008 Dennison Ray Award at this year’s annual conference in Washington. The award, given biennially, was presented by Legal Aid board president Warren Oliveri (right), who gave a brief recap of Legal Aid’s history since Joseph took over from the late Charles Dorsey in 1997. NLADA board president Jose Padilla is on the left.
Wilhelm Joseph, center, is the recipient of this year
The “Denny” award honors persons who have provided at least five years of service to the legal services community in staff, client or volunteer capacities. Dennison Ray, who dedicated his professional life to equal justice for the poor, is the former director of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Legal Services of North Carolina, and other programs. Photo by Jane Ribadeneyra/NLADA.
Maryland Legal Aid executive director Wilhelm H. Joseph Jr. was interviewed by the National Legal Aid & Defender Assoc.
Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph will receive this year’s Denison Ray Award at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s annual conference later this month in Washington. “You were nominated by the staff of the Legal Aid Bureau, which wrote eloquently of your work on behalf of equal justice,” wrote NLADA President Jo-Ann Wallace in a letter to Joseph. He will be honored November 21 at a special awards luncheon at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the site of this year’s conference.
The “Denny” award honors persons who have provided at least five years of service to the legal services community in staff, client or volunteer capacities. Dennison Ray, who dedicated his professional life to equal justice for the poor, is the former director of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Legal Services of North Carolina, and other programs.