Access Justice Brooklyn

Legal advocates for our community.

Author Archives: Development Team

  1. Building Wealth in Brooklyn Communities

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    In October 2022, Access Justice Brooklyn represented Mark-Anthony, a lifelong Brooklyn resident and homeowner since 2001, at a closing for the Basement Apartment Conversion Pilot Program (BACPP), New York City’s new program to help fund the conversion of home basements into safe, legal, and rentable apartment units. Mark-Anthony sought out the program in hopes to use his home to generate more income as well as demonstrate to his community that programs like the BACPP can help empower Brooklyn homeowners.

    Access Justice Brooklyn assisted Mark-Anthony in reviewing loan and construction contracts – helping him navigate the process of clearing the title of any issues that could possibly jeopardize ownership of his home. Upon closing, we discovered Mark-Anthony was the very first homeowner to obtain and close on a BACPP loan!

    Access Justice Brooklyn, alongside our partners at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, helped Mark-Anthony turn his home into an investment property, allowing him to earn additional income and support his community by creating safe and legal units for Brooklyn tenants. Learn more about Mark-Anthony’s story in our 2022 Program Video.

    Rapid gentrification and the skyrocketing cost of living in the borough threaten to displace Brooklyn homeowners and increase the burden of debt for individuals and families. Free, accessible legal services are essential to supporting our neighbors and ensuring the stability of Brooklyn’s diverse communities. But we cannot do it alone.

    Deepen your support for the Brooklyn community: Everyone, whether an attorney or not, can help expand access to the legal system and realize a vision of justice for all – make a gift today!

  2. NBC 4 New York’s Melissa Russo To Emcee Access Justice Brooklyn Gala 

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    Access Justice Brooklyn is excited to announce Melissa Russo, Political and Government Affairs Reporter for NBC 4 New York, will emcee our Gala on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.

    Melissa Russo is NBC 4 New York’s award-winning Political and Government Affairs Reporter and a member of the NBC 4 I-Team, the station’s investigative unit. An expert in local policy and politics with unmatched sources, Melissa is often the first to break major stories on her beat.

    Known for delivering thoughtful, in-depth coverage of issues not ordinarily tackled on local television news, Russo has achieved unprecedented, extended access inside New York’s homeless shelter system, juvenile jails and family courts. Her work has generated significant government policy changes and have been recognized with two of New York Emmys, in the categories of journalistic enterprise and societal concerns reporting.

    The Access Justice Brooklyn Gala celebrates and honors the work of extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serving the public good and equal justice. This year, we are delighted to honor Dedication to Justice awardee Janice Mac Avoy, Partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Lifetime Achievement awardee Charles John O’Byrne, Executive Vice President for Policy at Related Companies. The evening’s program will also feature the presentation of the Champion of Justice Award to the Paramount Global Law Department.

    As our premier fundraising event, funds raised for the Gala strengthen our critical work and impact throughout the borough. Confirm your support today at:

  3. Support Access Justice Brooklyn during #BrooklynGives

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    It’s time to deepen your support for the Brooklyn community and fight for justice!

    Access Justice Brooklyn is partnering with Brooklyn Community Foundation’s #BrooklynGives campaign to tap into the power of our community and encourage you to Give Where You Live!

    The lingering effects of the pandemic continue to impact Brooklyn residents – particularly seniors, communities of color, and individuals with low incomes. Rapid gentrification and the skyrocketing cost of living in the borough threaten to displace Brooklyn homeowners and increase the burden of debt for individuals and families.

    Free, accessible legal services are essential to supporting our neighbors and ensuring the stability of Brooklyn’s diverse communities.

    Providing civil legal services to Brooklynites in need is critical, but Access Justice Brooklyn cannot do it alone. Join us in becoming legal advocates for our community!

    Show your support, make a gift today, and consider becoming a fundraiser.

    Visit our #BrooklynGives page to create a personal fundraising campaign, and share our mission and impact with your family and friends.

  4. Access Justice Brooklyn Celebrates Pro Bono with Paramount Global and Blank Rome LLP

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    On October 27, 2022, Access Justice Brooklyn hosted a virtual clinic for Paramount Global and Blank Rome LLP volunteers who generously donated their time in support of our Family Stabilization services in celebration of National Pro Bono Week.

    During our Pro Se Uncontested Divorce Clinic, thirty-three attorneys and staff were trained on the uncontested divorce process. Twenty-one Paramount and Blank Rome volunteers later assisted eight of our clients with drafting divorce pleadings and explaining how to commence the divorce action with the court. 

    Thank you to everyone for their participation last week and a special thank you to event organizers Tricia Mecklembourg, Joe Richburg, Andrew Hughes, and Andrew Wong, co-chairs of the Paramount Global Pro Bono Committee and Kathy Ochroch, Partner and Director of Pro Bono and Community Impact, and Krystal Kane, Pro Bono Attorney, from Blank Rome.

    For more information about pro bono partnership opportunities with Access Justice Brooklyn, please contact Anne O’Grady, Pro Bono Director.

    For a list of our current Pro Bono Partners, click here.

    Upcoming CLE:

    Introduction to Consumer Bankruptcy, Tuesday, December 6, 2022 from 3:00–5:0PM

    Representing Homeowners in Administrative Hearings, Wednesday, December 7, from 3:00–5:0PM

  5. Access Justice Brooklyn at the 2022 NYSBA Partner Conference

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    On October 19, 2022, Access Justice Brooklyn Director of Legal Services, Sidney Cherubin, served on a panel with New York State Bar Association president, Sherry Levin Wallach, alongside Edwina Martin, Rebecca Shapiro, and John Sullivan for a Plenary Session on Invisible Disabilities at the 2022 NYSBA Partnership Conference in Albany, NY.

    Invisible Disabilities Week takes place on October 16-22, 2022. In the United States, 96% of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10% experience symptoms that are considered disabling. Attendees explored ways to identify invisible disabilities an discuss tools and resources available to attorney and clients.

    NYSBA’s Partnership Conference is the premier civil legal services educational and networking conference attended by leaders of civil legal service organizations and private law firms from across New York State.  

    Upcoming CLE:

    Cultural Competence CLE, Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 3:00–4:30PM

    For more information upcoming CLE events and volunteering with Access Justice Brooklyn, please email Anne O’Grady, Pro Bono Director.

  6. New Face to our Consumer Debt Practice

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    We are excited to introduce Franka Cepele, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and former volunteer, who we welcomed to the Access Justice Brooklyn team in August 2022 as a Staff Attorney for our Consumer Debt & Bankruptcy program. Franka is a Pro Bono Scholar at Legal Aid’s Prisoners’ Rights Project and has other public interest experience in immigration, disability rights, and clerking for a Supreme Court judge.

    Franka Cepele, Staff Attorney
    “The unfortunate reality is that “justice” in the context of the American Legal System, is more of an idyllic concept rather than a mandated outcome – especially for underserved communities facing legal challenges. That is why I wanted to work for Access Justice Brooklyn. Through programs like VLFD and CLARO, we provide people in our community with the necessary tools to properly advocate for themselves and tremendously increase their chances of obtaining favorable outcomes. I believe that justice shouldn’t be a rare occurrence reserved only for those with wealth and power, it should be a guarantee for every person who walks into a courthouse.”

    As Staff Attorney for Access Justice Brooklyn, Franka will oversee our Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Consumer Debt Program (VLFD) program in Kings County Civil Court and strengthen our consumer debt practice and The Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO), which delivers critical advice and representation to hundreds of Brooklynites a year. To learn more about the services we provide through our Consumer Debt & Bankruptcy program, click here.

  7. NYS Senator Roxanne J. Persaud presents Senate District 19 Senior Resource Day 2022

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    Thank you to Senator Roxanne Persaud for organizing and inviting us to participate in the Senate District 19 Senior Resource Day 2022 on Thursday, September 8, 2022!

    This event provided seniors with information about health care, mental health and wellness resources, City and State agencies, community organizations and much more. Access Justice Brooklyn Supervising Attorney, Peter S. White II and Pro Bono Coordinator, Eloy Ruiz, were available to answer questions, hand out legal resources, and provide more information about our programs and services.

    If you didn’t get a chance to visit our table, you can always learn more about available programming, access legal resources, and view additional upcoming events on our website!

  8. We’re Hiring!

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    Access Justice Brooklyn has two exciting legal assistant opportunities to support all of our practice areas.

    The Legal Assistant position will perform intake with prospective clients and staff the front desk providing information and/or referrals to clients seeking legal assistance as well as assisting staff attorneys on foreclosure, consumer debt, bankruptcy, family law, and other practice areas. For more information about the position, click here.

    The Foreclosure Legal Assistant will also perform intake with prospective clients and staff the front desk providing information and/or referrals to clients seeking legal assistance as well as assist staff attorneys specifically in our Homeowner Assistance program in OATH and foreclosure matters. For more information about the position, click here.

    Access Justice Brooklyn is an equal opportunity employer. We actively recruit and seek to grow and maintain a diverse staff, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; and sexual orientation and gender identity.

  9. Our 2022 Summer Newsletter is here!

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    The Access Justice Brooklyn 2022 Summer Newsletter is here! Click here to read the latest edition!

    In this edition you will find:

    An update from Heidi Lee Henderson, President & Chief Executive Officer: Read about rebrand, renewed mission, and how you can take action

    Homeowner Assistance New Addition: Welcome Aaron Scheinwald, Staff Attorney, to the Access Justice Brooklyn team

    Meet our Dynamic Summer Interns: Meet our new interns and hear why they are excited to be joining us this summer 

    Summer Events Series: Discover how we are advancing legal education opportunities for both volunteers and Brooklyn seniors 

    Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay connected!

  10. Highlighting Access Justice Brooklyn’s Summer Interns on National Intern Day

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    National Intern Day is July 28, 2022, and to celebrate we are delighted to introduce, highlight, and celebrate Access Justice Brooklyn’s Summer Interns! As an organization operating with a full-time staff of eleven, our interns play an especially critical role in our day-to-day work, programming, and impact.

    Tenzin Chimi, Rising 2L, Brooklyn Law School
    “I was interested in interning with Access Justice Brooklyn because of the organizations values and its mission to provide accessible legal services to financially burdened communities. Throughout this summer, I look forward to gaining skills that are invaluable to my legal career while being able to advocate for marginalized individuals!”

    Rigel Morin, Rising 3L, Brooklyn Law School
    “What interested me in interning with Access Justice Brooklyn was the opportunity to assist members of the Brooklyn community in a real way. I hope to gain first-hand experience in the way our court and legal systems operate and to learn how to best interact with and assist clients by the end of my internship with Access Justice Brooklyn.”

    Lucas Pozzuto, Rising 2L and Carswell Scholarship recipient, Brooklyn Law School
    “I was drawn to Access Justice Brooklyn because of the opportunity to work hands-on within my immediate community. While things like legal research and writing can be effectively supplemented through internships, there is no classroom substitute for working with everyday people to help them resolve legal issues they likely wouldn’t be able to resolve on their own. I look forward to continuing to improve upon my public speaking skills, communication skills, and I’m hoping to continue to hone my legal research and writing skills while doing so.”

    Brendan Tetro, Rising 2L, Brooklyn Law School
    “I am so excited to spend the summer with the Access Justice Brooklyn team to learn from my staff mentors and grow my skills as a legal professional while supporting the Brooklyn community!”

    From conducting intake to staffing legal clinics and representing clients on civil legal matters, our interns are making a long-lasting difference in the lives of those who are often overlooked and underserved.

    We are incredibly grateful and proud of their compassion and dedication to Access Justice Brooklyn and those we serve! For more information about volunteering with Access Justice Brooklyn, click here.