Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith is interviewed by former chief judge Judith Kaye on his experiences defending death penalty clients pro bono during a Feb. 19 event at the New York City Bar examining public service work sponsored by the Historical Society of the New York Courts.
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who opened the program, described a "very real crisis" for low-income New Yorkers' access to justice. "We work very hard here to provide a stable, consistent revenue stream and funding for civil legal services," he said.
Henry Greenberg, a partner at Greenberg Traurig, then gave an overview of pro bono's beginnings in New York, followed by a panel on meeting the overwhelming demand for civil legal services through programs such as the new 50-hour pro bono requirement for bar passage.
Esther Lardent, president of the Pro Bono Institute, moderated the panel, which included the Legal Aid Society's Attorney-in-Chief Steven Banks; Southern District Judge Victor Marrero; Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Dean Matthew Diller; and Helaine Barnett, chair of the court system's task force to expand civil legal services.
From left: Matthew Diller, Henry Greenberg, Jonathan Lippman, Victor Marrero, Judith Kaye, Esther Lardent, Robert Smith, Helaine Barnett, and Steven Banks.
Photos: Jack McCoy