By Adam J. Katz
As attorneys admitted to practice in the Northern District of New York, we have the responsibility to promote justice and to make justice equally accessible to all people. While Local Civil Rule 83.3 requires permanently admitted attorneys to accept assigned pro bono cases, the optimist in me believes that the primary reason that attorneys take on such work is that it’s the right thing to do. Last year, more than 30 members of our bar accepted appointment to represent at least one civil litigant with a filed case in our Court – for no compensation. I want to thank these past and present volunteers for their willingness to help others secure access to the judicial system.
I also want to highlight a related form of service that FCBA members Rob Wells (Syracuse) and Ben Hill (Albany) devote substantial time and talent to each year: the Pro Se Assistance Program. This program was designed by the FCBA to address the varying needs of pro se civil litigants, to help pro se civil litigants better understand the complexities of federal litigation, and to assist our Court in the administration of justice. You can read more about it here: https://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/pro-se-assistance-program. Rob and Ben have served with distinction as our Pro Se Coordinators for the past several years and have assisted countless self-represented parties navigate the federal court system.
Ben recently notified me that, due to other commitments, he intends to step down as a Pro Se Coordinator upon the appointment of his replacement. If, after reviewing the job description, you decide that you are interested in serving in the position, please send me your resume and a cover letter. The position, which pays $15,000 per year, provides innumerable benefits to both the litigants you advise and to the Court.
Thank you, Rob and Ben, for your service.
Adam J. Katz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org