Historical Society Hosts Pro Bono Discussion

New York Law Journal


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

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