The New York State Bar Association and the state Court System have partnered to create a network of pro bono attorneys who will providing legal assistance free of charge to New Yorkers experiencing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19-induced economic fallout.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this new partnership over the weekend and discussions continue in New York and across the nation - and the world - about how quickly it will be possible to re-open the economy in a manner that will not jeopardize public health.
"I understand the need to bring back the economy as quickly as possible and that people need to work, but more importantly we need to save lives," the governor said in a statement. "I want to make sure any decision we make to open the economy is based on what we've learned from our own experience and from other places around the globe."
"In the meantime, we have to make sure we're helping the many people and businesses who are struggling and we're partnering with the New York State Court System to organize lawyers statewide to provide pro bono legal assistance to help people with issues that they may have," Cuomo continued.
NYSBA is currently signing up volunteer attorneys to participate in this new undertaking, which will eventually also expand to offer legal support in matters other than unemployment, though this has been the source of considerable frustration for the millions of New Yorkers who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and are seeking benefits.
"We launched this effort to generate volunteer interest with New York State Attorneys to help members of the public during this difficult time," NYSBA said on its website. "At this moment we are in the initial phase of building the community of attorneys and will have more information coming soon that will help us connect the attorneys in the network with those that are seeking legal services. We will be updating this section in the immediate future."