Public Defenders throughout New York State average a caseload that is nearly double the recommended limit, while in New York City, there has been a significant reduction because of case caps. Seymour James, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, told the Associated Press. James said the "dramatic" reduction from an average of 682 cases per attorney to just under 400 and the hiring of about 250 attorneys followed 2009 state legislation. Their lawyers now spend far more time speaking with clients, interviewing witnesses and researching and preparing motions.
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An excellent letter on better employing the bail statute written by Joshua Norkin, a Staff Attorney in the Criminal Practice, appeared in the New York Law Journal printed edition yesterday. The letter is printed below.
Saying he hoped the initiative would be be “a model for other jurisdictions," Seymour W. James, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, praised the New York City Council, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the New York Community Trust for combining forces to provide legal representation for the estimated 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children facing deportation.
In a moving testimony that brought many in the audience to tears, Yvette Walker told the horrible story of eviction and homelessness until Kathryn Kliff, a Legal Aid attorney stepped in and helped. "It was the first time we felt human again," Ms. Walker said of her first meeting with Kathryn Kliff. "It mattered what we had to say. It was the first time in months that someone believed in us."
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Domestic Violence Sub-Committee of the Gender Bias Committee at Bronx Family Court has planned several events. On October 1st Vicki Light, a Staff Attorney at Bronx JRP, will be co-facilitating a Vicarious Trauma Training for court personnel. The training will look at vicarious trauma and its effects on service providers, specifically attorneys and court personnel. The training will define vicarious trauma, identify its causes and effects and describe tools and techniques for managing it. Vicki is currently the co-chair person of JRP’s committee on Secondary Trauma Stress.