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September 9, 2009

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION RENEWS CALL FOR APPROVAL OF MORE THAN $5 MILLION IN CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUNDING

Association President Getnick Again Urges State Senate to Take Action During Tomorrow's Legislative Session in Albany  

New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick and Getnick of New York City) today again urged members of the New York State Senate to approve a resolution, which would allow for distribution of more than $5 million in civil legal services funding, when the Senate reconvenes for a special legislative session tomorrow in Albany.

"During these difficult times - with an economy that is still struggling under the burdens of double-digit unemployment and a skyrocketing number of home foreclosures - the demand for access to civil legal services for those who cannot afford to pay has never been greater," Getnick said.  "Approval of this critical funding will allow legal aid providers throughout New York the opportunity to protect our most vulnerable citizens and will save countless dollars in the future that would otherwise be required to be spent by government for social services, housing, consumer debt, and other programs.  I implore the Senate to take appropriate action tomorrow and to authorize these funds without any further delay."

The more than $5 million in funding includes $4.4 million from the Department of State's budget for legal services and $609,000 from the Division of Criminal Justice Services' budget, both of which were approved as part of the 2009-10 state budget adopted by the State Legislature in April. President Getnick had made a similar plea in a letter to the State Senate's leadership during its special session in August.

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The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.