CUNY Law, NY state courts join in 'LaunchPad for Justice'

In the nation’s first of collaboration of this kind, the New York State Courts and CUNY School of Law will pilot "LaunchPad for Justice," an initiative that will jumpstart the careers of new CUNY Law graduates and provide much needed legal representation to low-income New Yorkers. In addition, the Courts will gain another cadre of volunteer attorneys, supporting its efforts at efficient administration of justice.

Chief Judge Lippman said, "I am pleased to announce this important partnership, the benefits of which will be numerous and far reaching. LaunchPad for Justice will provide CUNY Law School graduates the chance to build their resumes with real-world experience; the courts additional aid in dealing with heavy caseloads; and low-income New Yorkers engaged with the court system the legal counsel they desperately need."

Twelve recent CUNY Law graduates, who are waiting for admission to the New York State Bar, will set up shop in an office at one of New York's County Courthouses at 80 Centre Street. The graduates will be trained and supervised by practicing CUNY Law Alumni and Court employed attorneys to represent clients in civil matters.

Practice orders signed by the Appellate Division this fall will enable LaunchPad participants to appear in Civil Court as "Lawyers for a Day" prior to receiving admission to the Bar.

The LaunchPad will focus on housing law, an area that affects thousands of low-income New Yorkers in need of legal assistance. "Providing legal representation to underserved communities is central to our mission," said Michelle Anderson, Dean of the Law School. "This collaboration with the Courts is an amazing opportunity to increase access to justice and make grads more experienced in a tough job market. We are committed to supporting our graduates as they transition into their careers."