News

November 13, 2019
Testimony to New York City Human Resources Administration' Annual Hearing re: Office of Civil Justice’s Programs to Provide Univers Read more
November 11, 2019
  A Message from Marcia Levy, VOLS Executive Director   On this Veterans Day, I bring a military mom’s pride to thinking about those who serve or have served.   It is sometimes hard to appreciate what service members do each day to be physically and psychologically ready to meet the challenges of military service. When my son was deployed, I came to appreciate that families serve, too. I felt humbled by the sacrifices made by those in the field and also by their loved ones at home.   Veterans Day is a day to stop, and to appreciate and be thankful to those who served our nation during peacetime and war.   VOLS is especially proud today to share two ways that we are supporting New York City’s veterans.   First, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new Veterans Initiative to empower older New Yorkers who served in the military to age in place with dignity and without fear of homelessness. Our expert team and network of pro bono attorneys assist veterans to draft and execute life planning documents, as well as to advise and represent them on a range of legal issues to ensure they can remain in the community. To support this work, we recently hired a new staff attorney, Jessica Penkoff, with initial seed funding from The New York Community Trust.   Second, today the New York Daily News published a guest column by VOLS' Peter Kempner, Legal Director and Director of our Elderly Project. In his capacity as co-chair of the New York City Veterans Law Working Group, Pete calls our attention to an alarming statistic published earlier this year by the New York City Bar Association.   Did you know that New York State has the fifth largest veteran population, but lags far behind other states in benefits received from the VA?   From Pete's New York Daily News guest column:   “Many Americans assume that when service members return home with injuries, they are automatically connected with their Veterans Affairs disability benefits. They do not realize that these veterans must first navigate a complex and inconsistent administrative process. "An estimated 24% of veterans nationally are receiving disability benefits from the [U.S.] Department of Veterans Affairs. In New York, that number is less than 17%. These statistics suggest that tens of thousands of veterans across the state aren’t getting the VA benefits to which they are entitled." "Today, New York taxpayers bear the cost of the VA’s failures when veterans and their families must turn to hospitals, shelters and public benefits. Until the state makes a commitment to provide our veterans with the legal assistance they require, New York communities will pay the price and veterans will continue to be deprived of the life-changing benefits they are owed."   VOLS is proud to advocate on behalf of veterans in the public arena, and we thank our partners in the New York Veterans Law Working Group, including: City Bar Justice Center, Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School, Legal Services NYC, New York Legal Assistance Group - NYLAG, and Veteran Advocacy Project.   In November 2019, for Veterans Month, the VOLS team and our pro bono partners are proud to participate in 10 clinics, trainings, and presentations to serve New York City’s veterans through our Elderly and Microenterprise Projects. You can read the list in the below Veterans Month graphic.   Thank you to those who served our country, and Happy Veterans Day.   Sincerely, Marcia LevyExecutive DirectorVolunteers of Legal Service   Read more
November 11, 2019
On Veterans Day 2019, the New York Daily News published a guest column by VOLS' Peter Kempner, Legal Director and Director of our Elderly Read more
October 28, 2019
Volunteers of Legal Service is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to our Board of Directors:   Carrie H. Cohen, Esq.Morrison & Foerster Carrie H. Cohen is a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Investigations + White Collar Defense Group. During her time at MoFo, Ms. Cohen has worked on a wide range of pro bono matters reflecting her passion in criminal law and civil and human rights. She is currently applying her extensive experience in public corruption investigations to help the International Legal foundation train criminal defense lawyers in Afghanistan. Among other things, Cohen has also previously advised a local social services agency as it seeks more equitable pay for community-based preschool teachers, and has assisted several local nonprofits with internal investigations. Ms. Cohen is also a leader in advancing women in the legal profession, and serves as a member of the New York City Bar’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, where she spearheads a professional development program for women attorneys in Latin America and South Africa. She also co-chairs MoFo’s Women’s Strategy Committee, a group that ensures the advancement of women remains a strategic priority for the firm.   Read more
October 25, 2019
Thirty-one years ago on October 25, 1988, Congress passed the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. Read more
October 22, 2019
It's National Pro Bono Week! Each day, VOLS is featuring cases with attorneys who dedicate their time as volunteer lawyers, in order to empower New Yorkers to attain dignity, security, and opportunity in their lives. Read more
September 24, 2019
As part of the Veterans Initiative of the VOLS Elderly Project, Volunteers of Legal Service recently contributed to written testimony that highlighted veterans issues for a statewide hearing on civil legal services in New York State, held on September 23, 2019, at the Court of Appeals in Albany. Read more
September 21, 2019
By Marcia Levy, VOLS Executive Director The word anniversary is meaningful to me for two reasons. First, I have now been at VOLS for one year. Happy anniversary to me! And second, happy anniversary to VOLS!! We officially launched VOLS' 35th Anniversary Campaign, in celebration of leadership in pro bono and legal services across 35 years. Read below for exciting news about our April 2020 anniversary celebration and my reflections from the past year. CELEBRATION 2020: SHARED LEADERSHIP, EQUAL JUSTICE Since 1984, VOLS has nimbly addressed the needs facing low-income New Yorkers, launching projects such as the HIV/AIDS project in the 1980s, the Unemployment Insurance Advocacy Project in 2009, and our new Veterans Initiative in 2019. This is in addition to our long-standing school and medical based Children’s Project, and our Immigration, Incarcerated Mothers, Elderly, and Microenterprise projects. Our 35th anniversary campaign culminates with a celebration on April 1, 2020. As the United States marks 100 years since the ratification of women's suffrage under the 19th Amendment to Constitution, our celebration theme will be Shared Leadership, Equal Justice. We are proud to announce our first panel of honorees: Honoring women’s leadership:* Sheila S. Boston, Esq. | Partner, Arnold & Porter Bettina B. Plevan, Esq. | Partner, Proskauer Recognizing lifetime achievement:* John S. Kiernan, Esq. | Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton 35th Anniversary Steering Committee:* Arnold & Porter Cravath Davis Polk Debevoise Katten Kramer Levin Proskauer Skadden Weil  * Honoree panel and steering committee in formation Read more
September 18, 2019
Following is a case example from the VOLS Incarcerated Mothers Law Project. "Ms. A" is an alias name to protect privacy.   Read more

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