Hello from Peter Kempner, VOLS' Elderly Project Director

May 16, 2018

I am really excited to start this week as the new Director of the Elderly Project at Volunteers of Legal Service. I cannot wait to get started  working with our existing and future clients, participating law firms, volunteer attorneys, and community organizations. I am thrilled to join the VOLS team.
Working with the Elderly Project fits together nicely with my prior work. From the very beginning of my legal career, I have focused on a population based approach to providing free legal services to communities in need. I believe that by focusing on the needs of a specific population and providing holistic legal services, lawyers are able to provide the best quality services for their clients. This comes from a recognition that most legal issues for low income clients are intertwined and interrelated. Low income clients have housing issues, which are related to benefits issues, which are related to consumer and other debt issues. By focusing on the person instead of their legal issue, a population based approach ensures that no issues are missed and the root causes of problems are addressed. A population based practitioner knows the people they serve, knows the benefits available to the population, and know the resources available in the community to that population.
Prior to joining VOLS, I spent nearly 17 years at Brooklyn Legal Services. My first decade in legal services I worked as a Staff Attorney and Government Benefits Specialist in the HIV Unit, a practice dedicated to providing comprehensive civil legal assistance to the HIV positive community. There I advised and represented clients in housing, benefits, family, disability, government benefits, and estates cases. In 2011, I helped found the Veterans Justice Project, an innovative general legal services practice focused on veterans, active duty service members, and their families. The Veterans Justice Project took a similar approach to providing wrap around civil legal services for the veteran community. In 2015, I became a Deputy Director of the Housing Unit at Brooklyn Legal Services, as well as the Director of the Veterans Justice Project.  In addition, I helped to create and have taught the Veterans Justice Clinic at New York Law School since 2015, where I am a Clinical Adjunct Professor.
As I get settled in, I will let everyone know when we will be holding clinics, taking referrals, and doing other work in the community. I am looking forward to meeting and connecting with many of you over the coming weeks and months. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

All the best,