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May 17, 2010

STATE BAR URGES VITAL FUNDING FOR CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES TO BE INCLUDED IN EMERGENCY BUDGET APPROPRIATIONS

President Getnick Renews the Call to Ensure Access to Justice for all New Yorkers

New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City) today issued the following statement urging that funding for civil legal services be included as part of the emergency budget appropriations currently being enacted in place of an adopted state budget:

"The New York State Bar Association understands the daunting fiscal challenges currently facing state leaders as they work to adopt a state budget.  However, failing to provide adequate funding for civil legal services is tantamount to balancing the budget on the backs of indigent New Yorkers who cannot afford a lawyer as they face foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings. Legal service providers and not-for-profits all across the State are turning away our most vulnerable citizens at a time when they need help the most.

"Investing in civil legal services now will save the State millions of dollars in future costs for public assistance, housing, health care and other basic human needs. I urge that the necessary funding be included in all emergency spending proposals going forward in order for service providers and not-for-profits to fulfill their mission of ensuring equal access to the justice system for all New Yorkers."

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-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. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.