Partnership Conference Workshops

2014 Partnership Conference Presentation Workshops

The following is a list of workshops which will be held at the  2014 Partnership Conference on September 10-12, 2014. They are broken up by category. All workshops list any MCLE credits and the credit categories.

To view schedule click HERE

Workshops by Topics

Foreclosure & Housing
Program Improvements
Pro Bono/Pro Se

Workshops by Day

Thursday Morning
Thursday Afternoon
Friday Morning
Friday Afternoon


A. Medicaid in 2014: Impact of Federal and State Reform
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 10:00am-1:15pm
3.5 MCLE Credits: 3.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will cover the aspects of health care reform that most impact low income New Yorkers with a particularly vulnerable populations including immigrant communities and communities of color as well as persons with disabilities. Among other things, the workshop will explore provisions of the Affordable Care Act such as Medicaid expansion, the state health insurance exchange, affordability assistance and non-discrimination and examine the promises these provisions offer as well as explore the challenges that are faced by New Yorkers in need. It will also review the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team’s reforms focusing on transitions from a fee-for-service model to a managed care model for long term care services and behavioral health services.    


Rebecca Antar Novick, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Health Law Unit, The Legal Aid Society
Shena Elrington, Esq., Director, Health Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
Belkys Garcia, Esq., Staff Attorney,  The Legal Aid Society
Geoffrey A. Hale, Esq., Senior Health Law Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Orier Okumakpeyi, Esq., Staff Attorney, MFY Legal Services, Inc. 
Carol Santangelo, Esq., Staff Attorney, Health Law Unit, The Legal Aid Society
Rebecca Wallach, Esq., Staff Attorney/ Skadden Fellow, Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program, New York Legal Assistance Group



B. Intentional Program Violations, Administrative Disqualification Hearings, and Related Welfare/Food Stamp Fraud Issues
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 9:00am-10:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This training will provide an overview of the Administrative Disqualification Hearing process in the Public Assistance and SNAP benefits context. USDA issued new regulations in 2013 expanding the definition of trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and requiring states to monitor excessive requests for replacement cards. On the local level, counties engage in aggressive techniques to disqualify individuals from public assistance and SNAP benefits through the intentional program violation (IPV) administrative process. The unfortunate result is that recipients who had no intent to receive more benefits than they were entitled to are being improperly banned from receiving cash or food stamps, or both, which they desperately need. This workshop will provide you with the tools you need to help your clients, including an analysis of the new federal guidance on trafficking, a walk through the criminal vs. civil fraud route as well as the ADH pre- and post-hearing process, and sharing of recent fair hearing decisions issued in New York City and upstate districts. Some important court decisions will be reviewed, including the Robles v. Doar class action “marriage match” case brought by the Urban Justice Center. Finally, the session will address whether advocates can (or cannot) help clients who are themselves victims of benefit theft.  


Ian F. Feldman, Esq., Director of Legal Services, Mental Health Project, Urban Justice Center
Maryanne Joyce, Esq.
Diana Proske, Esq., Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.
Cathy Roberts, Senior Paralegal, Empire Justice Center    

C. Meeting a Client’s Immediate Needs: An Intensive Treatment of Emergency and One-Time Assistance
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-6:15pm
3.0 MCLE Credits: 3.0 Professional Practice

This workshop will provide an intensive treatment of emergency assistance benefits in New York State. Emergency assistance is a broad term that encompasses multiple routes to eligibility, complex conditions for its receipt, possible repayment terms, and multiple types of assistance. This training will provide concise information about eligibility determinations for Emergency Assistance for Families, Emergency Assistance for Adults, and Emergency Safety Net Assistance. It will touch on the substantive benefits available across these three categories where there are issues of: food emergency, utility emergency, rental/shelter arrears to prevent an eviction, need for temporary housing, as well as diversion payments and a multitude of special grants authorized under New York State regulations (moving expenses, storage, home repairs, restaurant allowance, pregnancy allowance). The information will be useful to newer and more experienced attorneys who face challenges in helping their clients get basic needs met by the local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) under desperate and time sensitive circumstances. These vital benefits are often some of the hardest for clients to access.  


Saima Akhtar, Esq., Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Susan Bahn, Esq., Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Diana Proske, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Inc.    


D. Defending and Assisting Consumers in Debt Collection Lawsuits
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 1:30pm-3:00pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Skills

Over the last decade, New York courts have seen an epidemic of consumer debt lawsuits brought against low and middle-income people.  Often filed in bulk and with scant evidence, debt collection firms count on unrepresented litigants either not responding or not being able to defend themselves.  The results are frozen bank accounts, earnings lost to garnishment, and often improper seizures of government benefits or imprudent settlements that put consumers in even more perilous positions.  Because the creditors and "debt buyers" bringing these suits often possess scant, no, or inauthentic evidence, many consumers have defenses, and many judgments are entered without proper notice, attorney assistance can make a profound impact, enabling consumers to eliminate judgments or defeat lawsuits, thus improving their credit and finances.

This panel will provide an introduction to the most common litigation tasks with which consumer defendants may request assistance from legal services practitioners:  vacating default judgments and answering a consumer credit transaction summons.  We will also discuss innovative programs and strategies for helping pro se consumer litigants with these tasks through unbundled legal services models such as CLARO and Volunteer-Attorney-for-the-Day, combined with document assembly tools and online resources available through LawHelp/NY.    


Carolyn E. Coffey, Esq., Supervising Attorney, MFY Legal Services Inc.
Evan Denerstein, Esq., Staff Attorney, MFY Legal Services Inc.
Adam Friedl, Esq., Program and Special Initiatives Manager, Pro Bono Net 
Matthew Parham, Esq., Staff Attorney, Western New York Law Center    


E. From Childhood to Adult: An Overview of SSI Age 18 Reviews

Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 10:00am-11:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 0.5 Ethics; 1.0 Professional Practice

Social Security’s regulations mandate that children who are found disabled under the SSI Childhood Disability criteria must have their SSI claims reviewed under the adult disability criteria when they turn 18. If SSA determines that an 18 year old does not meet the adult criteria, his/her benefits will be discontinued, subject to appeal. These claims present unique procedural and substantive issues, with which many advocates – both experienced and relatively new to the practice – are unfamiliar. This session will lay out the statutory and regulatory framework for analyzing young adult claims. It will include a discussion of some of the ethical issues that arise, such as who is the client – parent or young adult? It will also consider ethical complications when the client has diminished capacity, or is not cooperative. The presenters will introduce the topic of the types of evidence necessary to prove young adult claims, with an emphasis on school and special education records.  


Bridgit M. Burke, JD, Co-Director, Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center, Albany Law School
Shubh Nigam McTague, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
Louise M. Tarantino, Esq., Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center  

F. Typical Mental Impairments in Young Adult SSI Claims
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 11:45am-1:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

Disability claims involving young adults with mental impairments can be particularly challenging for advocates. Advocates must have a basic understanding of the typical psychiatric diagnoses confronted by young adults in order to work with the young adult claimants and develop evidence to support their claims. In this session, a psychologist, in conjunction with an experienced advocate, will explore typical diagnoses from the psychiatric perspective. The psychologist will update advocates on the significant changes in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), especially as they relate to young adult claims. The psychologist and facilitator will also cover how the psychiatric profession and SSA view Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores in these cases. Finally, they will suggest ways in which the subtest scores from formal intelligence tests can be used to demonstrate vocational limitations in young adult cases, and to compensate for the lack of relevant vocational issues in typical young adult cases.    


Catherine M. (Kate) Callery, Esq., Senior Attorney/ DAP Coordinator, Empire Justice Center
Katrina H. Colistra, PsyD, NYS Licensed Psychologist/Partner, New Paradigm Psychological Services, PLLC    

G. Problems Proving Vocational Issues in Young Adult Disability Claims
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 9:00am-10:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Skills

Social Security’s regulations mandate that children who are found disabled as children have their SSI claims reviewed under the adult disability criteria when they turn 18. If SSA determines that an 18 year old does not meet the adult criteria, his/her benefits will be discontinued, subject to appeal. On appeal, the claimant must demonstrate that s/he is unable to work, so vocational evidence is crucial to the claim. But vocational evidence typically presented in adult claims is difficult to obtain in young adult cases. This session will cover some of the unique problems with obtaining Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluations for young adults. Strategies will be suggested for creative alternatives, such as testimony and evidence from non-medical sources. It will also address how school records can be used to prove inability to work in these claims. Finally, it will focus on using evidence from the claimant’s childhood claim proactively to prove disability, with reference to SSA’s recent Social Security Ruling (SSR) on evaluation of young adult claims.    


Ann Biddle, Esq., Deputy Director, Queens Legal Services  
Tanya Douglas, Esq.,
Director, Disability Advocacy Project, Manhattan Legal Services
Ellen Rita Heidrick, Esq.,
Supervising Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York
Peter Racette, Esq., Deputy Director, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York Inc.

H. Proving Young Adult Disability Claims: Mock Hearing
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 10:45am-12:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Skills

Hearings involving young adult claims present unique issues for advocates. An 18 year old whose benefits are being terminated is entitled to a hearing at the reconsideration stage, as well as a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This session will address the differences and similarities between these types of hearings. It will also introduce proactive strategies to deal with issues that may rise at this type of hearing. And it will cover ways in which advocates can better elicit helpful testimony on direct examination. A sample – or “mock” – direct examination will be conducted.   

Panelists :

Lynda (L.J.) Fisher, Esq., Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Jocelyne Martinez, Esq., Supervising Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Emilia Sicilia, Esq., Director of Disability Benefits Advocacy, Urban Justice Center


I. Immigrant Eligibility for Public Benefits in New York State: New Developments & Review of the Basics
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 10:45am-12:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This 90-minute panel will provide an overview of the rules governing immigrant eligibility for public benefits with a focus on cash assistance, SNAP, Medicaid and Qualified Health Plans offered pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Understanding these rules is essential to legal services case handlers’ ability to advocate effectively for clients, not only for public benefits lawyers but those who work in housing – where eligibility for subsidies is often dependent on qualifying immigration status; health law advocates and even immigration lawyers, who may know the complexities of immigration law but not which statuses qualify for which public benefits. In addition to reviewing basics, this workshop will cover new immigration categories (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), new benefits programs (the ACA) and changes in the way local social services districts apply the rules upstate and down, as well as litigation updates.  


Lilian Vaamonde, Esq., Training Director, Civil Practice, The Legal Aid Society  
Barbara Weiner, Esq.,
Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Susan Welber, Esq., Staff Attorney, Civil Practice Law Reform Unit, The Legal Aid Society  

J. Beyond Law Reform: Building a Practice that Meets the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clients
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 9:00am-12:15pm
2.5 MCLE Credits: 0.5 Ethics; 0.5 Law Practice Management; 1.5 Professional Practice

We are at a crucial moment for legal services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. The historical lack of legal protections for LGBT people has resulted in significant economic injustice. Indeed, LGBT people are more likely to be low income than the population as a whole and transgender people are disproportionately likely to be living in extreme poverty. Fortunately, in New York State and around the nation the law is changing in favor of increased recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people. Low income people need access to civil legal services to enjoy the benefit of this improving legal landscape. The panel will talk about practical and substantive components of providing legal services to LGBT clients, with a focus on meeting the particular needs of transgender clients.     


Ez Cukor, Esq., Staff Attorney, New York Legal Assistance Group
Laurie Izutsu, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrants’ Rights and Advocacy Project, Brooklyn Legal Services 
Ashe McGovern, Esq., Attorney, New York Legal Assistance Group
Elana Redfield, Esq., Staff Attorney, Sylvia Rivera Law Project 
Julia A. Sáenz, JD, Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellow, LGBT Rights Project, Empire Justice Center
Sonja Shield, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Brooklyn Legal Services  

K. Breaking Down the Barriers to Language Access (previously Creative Strategies for Obtaining Language Access)
Date/Time: Friday, 09/12/14- 1:30pm-3:00pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

Legal service providers frequently encounter immigrant clients, who, due to language and cultural barriers, have not been provided with meaningful access to programs and services such as health care, housing, social services, police protection, education and the courts. This workshop will provide an overview of the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 13166, the recently enacted NY State Language Access Order No.26, the Fair Housing Act, the Affordable Care Act, as well as local county executive orders. We will discuss the specific settings where national origin discrimination and language barriers are encountered, cite the relevant regulations and emphasize the profound impact language access has had on our communities. Presenters will provide an array of strategies to address language access barriers including litigation, administrative advocacy, coalition building, community organizing and legislative initiatives, citing successful advocacy efforts and best practices. Attendees will be encouraged to examine creative methods for addressing language access challenges and to develop new partnerships and alliances which will strengthen their effectiveness and connectedness beyond the legal services community.    


Cheryl Keshner, Senior Paralegal/Community Advocate, Empire Justice Center
Amy S. Taylor, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney and Coordinator, Equal Rights Initiative, Legal Services NYC
Linda Hassberg, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Robin Marable, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York 
Shena Elrington, Esq., Director, Health Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest


L. Understanding the Basics of the New York State Foreclosure Process – A General Overview for Non-Foreclosure Defense Attorneys
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 10:00am-11:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will cover the basics of the NY residential foreclosure process and basic foreclosure defenses and solutions.  The focus will be on the basics of foreclosure for the legal services attorney who may have clients facing foreclosure.  This workshop will enable the attorney to guide their clients through foreclosure timelines, the expectations from the bank and court, the expectations for the homeowner and where the homeowner can seek professional assistance for free.   


Rebecca Caico, Esq., Senior Attorney/Regional Coordinator, Western/Central NY, HOPP Anchor Partner Program, Empire Justice Center
Rose Marie Cantanno, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Foreclosure Prevention Project, New York Legal Assistance Group
Jacob Inwald, Esq., Director of Foreclosure Prevention, Legal Services NYC  

M. Avoid Foreclosures through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans

Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 11:45am-1:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy which provides up to 5 years for a homeowner to pay off mortgage arrears. It also provides comprehensive financial relief. This may include canceling second mortgages, stopping garnishments, cancelling most amounts owed on medical bills and credit card debt, and reducing the amount owed on used car loans. In most bankruptcy courts in New York State, Chapter 13 may be combined with loss mitigation procedures for modifying mortgages.

Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy in which the homeowner or consumer files a 3 to 5 year plan. This is in contrast to a Chapter 7 proceeding, which liquidates debts and typically lasts only 3 or 4 months.  The filing of a Chapter 13 automatically stops a foreclosure. Until the Chapter 13 case is decided all proceedings must be filed in bankruptcy court. After filing a Chapter 13 petition, the Court will review the homeowner’s Chapter 13 Plan. In many bankruptcy courts, the homeowner may initiate loss mitigation review procedures, similar to settlement conferences in state court.

The panel will discuss procedures for homeowners simultaneously filing a Chapter 13 proceeding and seeking modification of their mortgage. The panel will include Hon. Robert E. Littlefield, Jr., Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of New York (NDNY). He will discuss the innovative NDNY loss mitigation program for Chapter 13 debtors who are seeking a mortgage modification. The panel also includes Peter M. Frank, Senior Attorney at Legal Services for the Hudson Valley. He will discuss the loss mitigation program in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and adversary proceedings in bankruptcy, which may be used to challenge the standing of the lender to file a foreclosure and which can be a vehicle for raising consumer-related claims.    


Peter M. Frank, Esq., Senior Attorney, Legal Services for the Hudson Valley
Kirsten Keefe, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center    
Hon. Robert E. Littlefield, Jr.,
Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of New York (NDNY)  
Mark H. Wattenberg, Esq., Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York Inc.  

N. Preservation Issues in HUD Subsidized Housing
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-5:00pm
2.0 MCLE Credits: 2.0 Professional Practice

Since the 1970s, HUD has assisted low income housing through a combination of project based Section 8 subsidies and mortgage subsidies and insurance. Many projects have both Section 8 and federal mortgage subsidies, others participate only in one program. The affordability of tens of thousands of these units are now threatened by the expiration of Section 8 contracts, and owners’ decisions to prepay their federally insured or subsidized mortgages. Once the Section 8 subsidy or subsidized mortgage is terminated, rents rise to market levels, and tenants are protected only by the issuance of “enhanced” Section 8 vouchers. However, in recent years, HUD has begun demonstration projects for new tools for preservation. This workshop will look at the threats to HUD Subsidized Multifamily Housing, the legal tools used by practitioners to protect this vital affordable housing resources and possible new tools being created by HUD for preservation.    


Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq., Director of Litigation, Safety Net Project, Urban Justice Center 
Ellen Davidson, Esq., Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Edward Josephson, Esq., Director of Litigation, Legal Services NYC    

O. Low Income Housing Tax Credit Developments: Issues in the Identification of the Unique Occupancy and Eviction Requirements of those Developments and Strategies for Representing Occupants of LIHTC Housing
Thursday, 09/11/14- 5:15pm-6:15pm
1.0 MCLE Credits: 1.0 Professional Practice

Learn about the most prevalent type of subsidized housing in the United States and New York State. This session will discuss the origins of LIHTC housing, the state and federal regulations that control its operation and what protections these regulations afford tenants. Finally, this session will also address how to identify this difficult to discern type of housing and provide practice tips for advocates to help tenants maintain their housing in LIHTC developments.    


Natalie Ann Knott, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York
Robert R. Romaker, Esq.,
Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York  


P. Cornerstone Advocacy:  An Interdisciplinary Approach to Working with Families
Thursday, 09/11/14- 10:00pm-11:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This program will provide an overview of pertinent law and regulation and advocacy strategies directed to speed reunification of families with children in foster care. The program will describe strategies for attorneys and social workers to promote appropriate and meaningful service plans, placements, participation in conferences, and visitation. It will also provide practice tips for solo practitioners and attorneys who work with social workers.     


Richard Barinbaum, LMSW, Social Work Supervisor, Center for Family Representation, Inc        
Christine Zielinski, Esq.,
Litigation Supervisor, Center for Family Representation, Inc  

Q. The Color of a Bruise: Addressing Racial Inequalities in Legal Protection for Victims of Bruising Injuries
Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-4:30pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

When deciding who gets help, police, lawyers, and judges all look at a victim’s visible injuries. However, research indicates that visual assessment of bruising injuries is extremely inaccurate. Race, age, weight, and gender all impact the appearance of a bruise, and documentation practices vary widely. Victims of color are systemically disadvantaged by visual assessment of bruising and are at greater risk of having their injuries ignored or under-prosecuted. Additionally, stereotypes of black women – the strong black woman who feels little pain and the angry black woman who is ‘naturally’ antagonistic – impact how black women victims are viewed and treated within the legal system. The Legal Aid Society of Rochester and the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization performed a collaborative study to learn from victims and services providers about adjudication processes for victims of color with bruising injuries. In this workshop we will share our findings, and discuss problems and solutions to advocating for victims of color with bruising injuries, including; new scientific methods of documenting injuries, what empirical evidence tells us about the color and depth of injuries, and practical approaches for improving advocacy for victims.    


Tiffany E. Barber, PhD Candidate, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
Lauren Deutsch, Esq., Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester    

R. The Ethics and Practice of Representing Indigent Respondents in Child Support Cases
Thursday, 09/11/14- 4:45pm-6:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 0.5 Ethics; 1.0 Professional Practice

This workshop is for attorneys who already represent or would like to represent respondents in child support cases (e.g., through the assigned counsel program). This program is also for attorneys who practice social security, veteran, foreclosure, and family law and the issues they should be aware of and the interconnectedness of child support issues with these areas of law.    


Susan C. Antos, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Mollie A. Dapolito, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York (Geneva Office)
Jeffrey M. Reed, Esq., Managing Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York (Olean Office)    

S. Economic Issues and Family Law: Navigating the Intersections of Consumer, Family, Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Laws
Thursday, 09/11/14- 11:45am-1:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will provide an overview of economic issues facing individuals when they separate or divorce, with a focus on domestic violence survivors. Legislation was just enacted adding economic crimes to the enumerated offenses that allow one to be granted an order of protection. This change in the law highlights the economic difficulties clients face when relationships end, especially relationships where domestic violence was a factor. Parties can be brought into Family Court, Supreme Court or Civil Court; as well as have a looming foreclosure all simultaneously.

This workshop will discuss the legislation, as well as the interaction of various areas of law and how they come into play in a family or matrimonial matter. Attendees will come away with an understanding of consumer debt, how best to protect your client when faced with a consumer action, and how to stop harassing collections calls. Credit reports and the effects of a credit report and score on one’s future will also be discussed. Finally, there will also be discussion of foreclosures; and the interaction of a foreclosure matter with a matrimonial matter, as well as mechanisms available to allow homeowners to keep their houses.    


Kevin Purcell, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Foreclosure Prevention Unit, Empire Justice Center  
Laura A. Russell, Esq.,
Supervising Attorney, Family Law/Domestic Violence Unit, The Legal Aid Society
Matthew Schedler, Esq., Supervising Attorney, CAMBA Legal Services Inc.    


T. Effective Legislative Advocacy for Lawyers and Advocates
Friday, 09/12/14- 1:30pm-3:00pm
MCLE Credits: NONE

As legal services providers, our responsibilities to clients go far beyond the courts. Legislation, budget advocacy, and administrative reform—pursued in partnership with the communities we serve—are crucial tools for securing policy victories and sustaining our own programs. This workshop will include an overview of the New York State legislature and legislative process; tips for selecting campaign issues, building coalitions, and developing strategy; and an introduction to legal issues including lobbying rules for non-profit organizations and considerations for bill drafting and negotiation. The workshop will include lecture, discussion, and case studies.     


Harvey Epstein, Esq., Associate Director, Urban Justice Center
Kate Rubin, Managing Director, Civil Action Practice, The Bronx Defenders    
John Wright, Principal, The Wright Group NY

U. Community Lawyering: Sharpening our Theory & Developing our Toolbox
Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-6:15pm
3.0 MCLE Credits: 3.0 Ethics

At a time of increasing disparities in wealth, attacks on social safety net programs, and ongoing funding cuts for legal services, utilizing alternative strategies to empower low-income communities is more important than ever for legal services providers. Lawyers and legal advocates have the skills to play a crucial role in supporting community movements and campaigns for justice—we can defend the right to organize, conduct know-your-rights trainings, create community-driven research, utilize traditional and social media advocacy, help win bottom-up policy changes, and represent individuals and organizations in strategic litigation. However, despite our skills and best intentions, we may find ourselves constrained by funding restrictions, in severe conflict with, working at cross purposes, or inhibiting community organizing, movements, and campaigns. In this interactive and participatory two-part workshop, participants will have the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of how to work collaboratively with community organizers and community organizations to win change.    


Jennifer Ching, Esq., Director, Queens Legal Services/Legal Services of NYC
Marika Dias, Esq., Managing Attorney, Make the Road New York
Reyna Ramolete Hayashi,Esq., Workers' Rights Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Kate Rubin, Managing Director, The Bronx Defenders  
Purvi Shah, Esq., Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights, Social Justice Institute
Helena Wong, Member, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Garrett Wright, Esq.,  Senior Staff Attorney, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center  

V. It Will Happen to Us All: An Essential Guide to Delivering Disaster Legal Aid
Friday, 09/12/14- 1:30pm-3:00pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.0 Skills; 0.5 Ethics

A new legal specialty has emerged, and one that is arguably around for good. A growing number of New York State legal services programs have disaster aid units or have had a “disaster docket” develop in recent years. Irene, Ike, Sandy—whether natural disasters or other large events, disaster preparedness is important for both program infrastructure and attorney professional development. This roundtable will focus on the lessons learned by attorneys who provided frontline legal services post-Superstorm Sandy, and whose work now encompasses a range of issues that low-income communities continue to confront in the post-disaster context. Did New York do better than New Orleans? Were New York advocates “disaster prepared”? What can you do to better prepare yourself and your legal services program in the event a disaster strikes in your community?     


Christine N. Appah, Esq., Staff Attorney, Disaster Relief Unit, The Legal Aid Society
Sunny Noh, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Storm Response Unit, New York Legal Assistance Group
Fazeela Siddiqui, Esq., Staff Attorney, Disaster Relief Unit, Legal Aid Society
Anne Stephenson, Esq., Staff Attorney, Homeowner & Consumer Rights, Queens Legal Services/Legal Services NYC

Moderator: Jennifer Ching, Esq., Director, Queens Legal Services/Legal Services NYC

W. The Future of Technology in the Effective Delivery of Legal Aid
Thursday, 09/11/14- 10:00am-11:30am
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Law Practice Management

Today cases are won and lost, and funders can be wowed or worried by how effectively a program uses technology to reach clients and efficiently manage operations. We can build a bridge to a tech future that keeps the best of legal services while increasing our effectiveness using technology. Our panel will distill useful information about how our justice community currently uses technology, both in New York and in other states. Learn about national developments in the innovative use of technology, and what you need to know from the LSC Tech Summit, the ABA Law Office Technology Report, and the LSC Tech Baselines. Then we will dive into the technology used by your peers in New York, highlight the Chief Judge’s Task Force tech report, and provide examples of effective NY projects. With that information in mind, the panel will describe how to plan for technology projects, provide tech training tips, and describe exciting opportunities technology provides for coordination.    


Christine M. Fecko, Esq., General Counsel, IOLA Fund    
John T. Greiner, JD, Chief Information Officer, Legal Services NYC
Anne Hineline, Technology Coordinator, Legal Assistance of Western New York  
Jeff L. Hogue, Esq., Community Relations and Operations, LegalServerTM

X. A Landscape Redefined: Governance and Management Changes in New York Law
Thursday, 09/11/14- 11:45am-1:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

Several recent changes in New York Law will significantly affect the management and governance of New York not-for-profit corporations and other entities that receive funding from the State of New York. Effective July 1, 2014, the Nonprofit Revitalization Act will implement the first comprehensively reform of New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law in forty years. This new law brings many changes in how New York corporations must handle interested party transactions, their annual audit process, and many, many other aspects of their governance. Organizations must also comply with Executive Order 38 limiting executive compensation and administrative expenses paid by nonprofits, including legal services providers that receive funding from any of eleven designated New York State agencies. Also beginning in July 2013, the process for applying for funding from state agencies has been revamped, and those seeking funding must “pre-qualify” and have in place numerous governance and management policies in order to be eligible for that funding. Together, all of these changes have brought about the most dramatic changes that New York nonprofits, including legal services providers, have faced in decades. In order to become legally compliant and remain eligible for important funding, the managers of legal services providers must understand how these new rules impact the governance and management of their organizations.    


Courtney Darts, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Pro Bono Partnership
Linda Schechter Manley, Esq., Legal Director, Lawyers Alliance of New York     


Y. Cultivating Pro Bono Leaders
Friday, 09/12/14- 9:00am-10:30am
MCLE Credits: NONE

In this challenging economic climate in which organizations are experiencing reductions in staffing, it is more critical than ever that all available resources be used in promoting pro bono participation, including leaders within and outside of the organization's staff.  This workshop will discuss how to cultivate and engage leadership within the organization's staff and board, the local judiciary, and the bar.  Panelists will offer specific examples for engaging pro bono leaders in recruitment, retention and recognition efforts.  


Sheila A. Hubbard, Esq., Executive Director, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Boston Bar Association
Cheryl M. Zalenski, Esq., Director, Center for Pro Bono, American Bar Association    

Z. Using Business Law and Partnerships with Pro Bono Attorneys to Assist Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations in Order to Improve the Quality of Life of Individuals in Low-income Neighborhoods
Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-4:30pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will identify and address common legal issues faced by small non-profit organizations and micro-entrepreneurs based in and serving low-income communities. Attendees will learn how a public interest law program can use transactional legal work to improve the success/likelihood of survival of small businesses and non-profit organizations that provide essential services in low-income communities, thus strengthening low–income communities and improving the quality of life of low-income individuals. Attendees will also learn about considerations in starting a community economic development program, including staffing, eligibility guidelines and the importance of pro bono partnerships to providing quality legal assistance to small businesses, community-based organizations and community development corporations in low-income communities. The workshop will also address challenges and benefits to starting and maintaining a community economic development program.     


Rolando Gonzalez, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Community Development Project, The Legal Aid Society
Jessica A. Rose, Esq., Director, Community & Economic Development Project, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

AA. Filling in the Gap: Using Non-Lawyers to Educate & Assist Pro-Se Litigants
Friday, 09/12/14- 10:45am-12:15pm
MCLE Credits: NONE

Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) in collaboration with University Settlement will present on using non-lawyers to assist in providing access and legal education to litigants without representation. The presentation will include best practices, protocols and effective models in using non-lawyers to assist pro se litigants navigate various courts and legal processes throughout New York State. Specifically, LIFT will discuss the current continuum of services model used to deliver award winning services to unrepresented litigants throughout New York City Family Courts. University Settlement will thoroughly present on the model and methods used in Project Home and the Navigator project in Housing Court; both programs using non-lawyers to assist litigants with their housing court matters.     


Katherine Chang, Program Coordinator, Project Home, University Settlement
Jameelah J. Hayes, Esq., Director of Programs, Legal Information for Families Today
Jennifer Vallone, Director, Project Home, University Settlement  


AB. Implementing Federal Rights: The American Private Enforcement Model
Friday, 09/12/14- 1:30pm-3:00pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

In his book, The Litigation State (2010), Professor Sean Farhang maintains that in the United States, a “profoundly important instrument” of “policy implementation” is the private enforcement of civil rights, labor protective and consumer laws, primarily achieved through fee-shifting statutes such as Section 1988. Farhang contends that the American regulatory state is largely comprised of “radically decentralized intervention” by private parties bringing statutory and regulatory enforcement actions in federal court; cases that “span the waterfront of federal policy”. This workshop will explore: (1) the theory and practice of private rights enforcement as a policy tool; (2) Examine several different federal statutory enforcement mechanisms: (FLSA, Title VII, IDEA, ADA, FDCPA, §1988); (3) Discuss the role and importance of legal services programs in context of policy enforcement; (4) Highlight problems and issues arising in private policy enforcement litigation, e.g. Buckhannon, arbitration, Arbor Hill, Jeff D and waiver of fees, and others.    


Peter Dellinger, Esq., Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Jonathan Feldman, Esq., Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center  

AC. Tax 101 for the Legal Services Practitioner
Thursday, 09/11/14- 4:45pm-6:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will introduce legal services advocates to tax law issues which have both positive and negative impacts on our clients. Tax law provides for the Earned Income Credit, the largest anti-poverty program in the United States, as well as the Premium Tax Credit, which will help underwrite the cost of health insurance for low income individuals under the Affordable Care Act. However, the complexity of the tax system poses significant obstacles to accessing such benefits, makes low income individuals dependent upon others for assistance in preparing their returns, and vulnerable to exploitation or ID theft. Tax debt and collection activity by IRS and New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance can result in levies on bank accounts, Social Security benefits, loss of drivers’ licenses, and bad credit ratings.    


Sarah B. D’Alessandro, Esq., Staff Attorney, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
Elizabeth A. Hay, Esq., Attorney-in-Charge, Harlem Community Law Office, The Legal Aid Society
Anne-Marie Malak, Esq., Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York

AD. Criminal Law for the Civil Practitioner: Bridging the Gap between Arrest and Reentry to Work Towards Holistic and Transformative Delivery of Direct Legal Services.
Friday, 09/12/14- 9:00am-12:15pm
3.0 MCLE Credits: 3.0 Professional Practice

In New York State, where over half a million people were arrested in 2012 and about one in three people currently has a criminal record, interactions with the police, criminal courts, and jails have become normal events for the people and communities we serve.  Arrest and incarceration can trigger complex and intertwined civil legal problems. Civil legal service providers know how the myriad of non-legal social problems related to poverty – such as homelessness, addiction, unemployment, or mental illness – often lead to crime.  The ensuing arrest, criminal charge, or conviction result in significant forfeitures and disabilities that only exacerbate the social problems that often lead to crime in the first place.  Despite the demonstrable overlap between civil and criminal justice systems, most civil practitioners and public defenders do not talk to each other.  

This workshop starts with an overview of the criminal court process, sealing laws, certificates that promote rehabilitation, lecture on how criminal cases affect jobs, housing and various benefits and then discussion on the ways civil legal service attorneys can better bridge these gaps and more effectively address legal problems stemming from criminal court-involvement to provide transformational representation.    


Paul Curtin, Esq., Managing Attorney, Civil Unit, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo 
Christa Douaihy, Esq., Attorney/Team Leader, Civil Action Practice, The Bronx Defenders
Mary Grace Ferone, Esq., Program Manager, Disability and Public Benefits Unit, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley
Runa Rajagopal, Esq., Team Leader and Supervising Attorney, Civil Action Practice, The Bronx Defenders
Judith Whiting, Esq., General Counsel, Community Service Society of New York

To register online, click HERE