Thursday Afternoon Workshops

3:00pm - 4:30pm

C. Meeting a Client’s Immediate Needs: An Intensive Treatment of Emergency and One-Time Assistance
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-6:15pm
3.0 MCLE Credits: 3.0 Professional Practice

This workshop will provide an intensive treatment of emergency assistance benefits in New York State. Emergency assistance is a broad term that encompasses multiple routes to eligibility, complex conditions for its receipt, possible repayment terms, and multiple types of assistance. This training will provide concise information about eligibility determinations for Emergency Assistance for Families, Emergency Assistance for Adults, and Emergency Safety Net Assistance. It will touch on the substantive benefits available across these three categories where there are issues of: food emergency, utility emergency, rental/shelter arrears to prevent an eviction, need for temporary housing, as well as diversion payments and a multitude of special grants authorized under New York State regulations (moving expenses, storage, home repairs, restaurant allowance, pregnancy allowance). The information will be useful to newer and more experienced attorneys who face challenges in helping their clients get basic needs met by the local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) under desperate and time sensitive circumstances. These vital benefits are often some of the hardest for clients to access.   

Saima Akhtar, Esq.,
Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Susan Bahn, Esq., Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Diana Proske, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Inc.    

U. Community Lawyering: Sharpening our Theory & Developing our Toolbox
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-6:15pm
3.0 MCLE Credits: 3.0 Ethics

At a time of increasing disparities in wealth, attacks on social safety net programs, and ongoing funding cuts for legal services, utilizing alternative strategies to empower low-income communities is more important than ever for legal services providers. Lawyers and legal advocates have the skills to play a crucial role in supporting community movements and campaigns for justice—we can defend the right to organize, conduct know-your-rights trainings, create community-driven research, utilize traditional and social media advocacy, help win bottom-up policy changes, and represent individuals and organizations in strategic litigation. However, despite our skills and best intentions, we may find ourselves constrained by funding restrictions, in severe conflict with, working at cross purposes, or inhibiting community organizing, movements, and campaigns. In this interactive and participatory two-part workshop, participants will have the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of how to work collaboratively with community organizers and community organizations to win change.    

Jennifer Ching, Esq.,
Director, Queens Legal Services/Legal Services of NYC
Marika Dias, Esq., Managing Attorney, Make the Road New York
Reyna Ramolete Hayashi,Esq., Workers' Rights Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Kate Rubin, Managing Director, The Bronx Defenders  
Purvi Shah, Esq., Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights, Social Justice Institute
Helena Wong, Member, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Garrett Wright, Esq.,  Senior Staff Attorney, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center   

3:00pm – 4:30pm 

Q. The Color of a Bruise: Addressing Racial Inequalities in Legal Protection for Victims of Bruising Injuries
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-4:30pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

When deciding who gets help, police, lawyers, and judges all look at a victim’s visible injuries. However, research indicates that visual assessment of bruising injuries is extremely inaccurate. Race, age, weight, and gender all impact the appearance of a bruise, and documentation practices vary widely. Victims of color are systemically disadvantaged by visual assessment of bruising and are at greater risk of having their injuries ignored or under-prosecuted. Additionally, stereotypes of black women – the strong black woman who feels little pain and the angry black woman who is ‘naturally’ antagonistic – impact how black women victims are viewed and treated within the legal system. The Legal Aid Society of Rochester and the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization performed a collaborative study to learn from victims and services providers about adjudication processes for victims of color with bruising injuries. In this workshop we will share our findings, and discuss problems and solutions to advocating for victims of color with bruising injuries, including; new scientific methods of documenting injuries, what empirical evidence tells us about the color and depth of injuries, and practical approaches for improving advocacy for victims.     

Tiffany E. Barber, PhD Candidate,
Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
Lauren Deutsch, Esq., Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester    

Z. Using Business Law and Partnerships with Pro Bono Attorneys to Assist Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations in Order to Improve the Quality of Life of Individuals in Low-income Neighborhoods
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-4:30pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will identify and address common legal issues faced by small non-profit organizations and micro-entrepreneurs based in and serving low-income communities. Attendees will learn how a public interest law program can use transactional legal work to improve the success/likelihood of survival of small businesses and non-profit organizations that provide essential services in low-income communities, thus strengthening low–income communities and improving the quality of life of low-income individuals. Attendees will also learn about considerations in starting a community economic development program, including staffing, eligibility guidelines and the importance of pro bono partnerships to providing quality legal assistance to small businesses, community-based organizations and community development corporations in low-income communities. The workshop will also address challenges and benefits to starting and maintaining a community economic development program.    

Rolando Gonzalez, Esq.,
Senior Staff Attorney, Community Development Project, The Legal Aid Society
Jessica A. Rose, Esq., Director, Community & Economic Development Project, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A 

3:00pm – 5:00pm

N. Preservation Issues in HUD Subsidized Housing
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 3:00pm-5:00pm
2.0 MCLE Credits: 2.0 Professional Practice

Since the 1970s, HUD has assisted low income housing through a combination of project based Section 8 subsidies and mortgage subsidies and insurance. Many projects have both Section 8 and federal mortgage subsidies, others participate only in one program. The affordability of tens of thousands of these units are now threatened by the expiration of Section 8 contracts, and owners’ decisions to prepay their federally insured or subsidized mortgages. Once the Section 8 subsidy or subsidized mortgage is terminated, rents rise to market levels, and tenants are protected only by the issuance of “enhanced” Section 8 vouchers. However, in recent years, HUD has begun demonstration projects for new tools for preservation. This workshop will look at the threats to HUD Subsidized Multifamily Housing, the legal tools used by practitioners to protect this vital affordable housing resources and possible new tools being created by HUD for preservation. 

Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq.,
Director of Litigation, Safety Net Project, Urban Justice Center 
Ellen Davidson, Esq., Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Edward Josephson, Esq., Director of Litigation, Legal Services NYC    

4:45pm – 6:15pm

R. The Ethics and Practice of Representing Indigent Respondents in Child Support Cases
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 4:45pm-6:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 0.5 Ethics; 1.0 Professional Practice

This workshop is for attorneys who already represent or would like to represent respondents in child support cases (e.g., through the assigned counsel program). This program is also for attorneys who practice social security, veteran, foreclosure, and family law and the issues they should be aware of and the interconnectedness of child support issues with these areas of law.   

Susan C. Antos, Esq.,
Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center
Mollie A. Dapolito, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York (Geneva Office)
Jeffrey M. Reed, Esq., Managing Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York (Olean Office)    

AC. Tax 101 for the Legal Services Practitioner
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 4:45pm-6:15pm
1.5 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Professional Practice

This workshop will introduce legal services advocates to tax law issues which have both positive and negative impacts on our clients. Tax law provides for the Earned Income Credit, the largest anti-poverty program in the United States, as well as the Premium Tax Credit, which will help underwrite the cost of health insurance for low income individuals under the Affordable Care Act. However, the complexity of the tax system poses significant obstacles to accessing such benefits, makes low income individuals dependent upon others for assistance in preparing their returns, and vulnerable to exploitation or ID theft. Tax debt and collection activity by IRS and New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance can result in levies on bank accounts, Social Security benefits, loss of drivers’ licenses, and bad credit ratings.     

Sarah B. D’Alessandro, Esq.,
Staff Attorney, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
Elizabeth A. Hay, Esq., Attorney-in-Charge, Harlem Community Law Office, The Legal Aid Society
Anne-Marie Malak, Esq., Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York

5:15pm – 6:15pm

O. Low Income Housing Tax Credit Developments: Issues in the Identification of the Unique Occupancy and Eviction Requirements of those Developments and Strategies for Representing Occupants of LIHTC Housing
Date/Time: Thursday, 09/11/14- 5:15pm-6:15pm
1.0 MCLE Credits: 1.0 Professional Practice

Learn about the most prevalent type of subsidized housing in the United States and New York State. This session will discuss the origins of LIHTC housing, the state and federal regulations that control its operation and what protections these regulations afford tenants. Finally, this session will also address how to identify this difficult to discern type of housing and provide practice tips for advocates to help tenants maintain their housing in LIHTC developments.     

Natalie Ann Knott, Esq., Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York
Robert R. Romaker, Esq., Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York