A.G. Schneiderman Marks Law Day By Reaffirming Commitment To Equal Justice

Cites Three Year Commitment To Fund Foreclosure Prevention Legal Services, Including $15 Million In This Year’s Budget

Schneiderman: Equal Justice Is Only Meaningful With Access To Legal Representation

A.G. Also Endorses Chief Judge Lippman’s Proposal To Require Pro Bono Service For Admittance To NYS Bar

ALBANY—In a speech marking Law Day delivered at the Court of Appeals in Albany, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that every New Yorker is afforded equal justice under law. Focusing on the foreclosure crisis, Schneiderman cited his efforts to protect the rights of New Yorkers facing foreclosure by ensuring that they are represented by lawyers.

“As we are reminded by the theme of Law Day this year, equal justice under law is only meaningful when there is equal access to the courts. ‘No courts, no justice, no freedom,’” Attorney General Schneiderman said in prepared remarks. “And access to the courts is only meaningful when people are represented by lawyers.”

Attorney General Schneiderman recently announced that his office will fund foreclosure prevention legal services and housing counseling for the next three years for homeowners facing foreclosure. Funding for the state’s foreclosure prevention program was set to expire on April 1st. The program was saved when Attorney General Schneiderman announced that $15 million from the recent multi-state settlement with the five largest mortgage servicing banks would be used to provide these services.

In his remarks Schneiderman related the story of a Brooklyn woman who almost lost her home, but was saved by a legal services organization of the kind that his office is funding. “With the influx of funds for legal services that my office is providing, we will give New Yorkers much stronger protection from wrongful foreclosure,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. He also credited reforms to the foreclosure process that have been implemented by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman with making the process fairer and more efficient.

In his remarks, the Attorney General also endorsed a proposal made by Chief Judge Lippman to require law students to complete pro bono hours in order to be admitted to the bar, saying that it would advance the goal of equal justice under law by increasing access to legal representation.

“The legal services [law students] provide can be life changing for clients who couldn’t otherwise afford attorneys, and for many students, that experience of making a difference will inspire a lifelong commitment to pro bono service,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.

Today’s Law Day event was co-hosted by Chief Judge Lippman and the Office of the Attorney General.

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