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Dear Friend, 

Recent flooding jolting NYC neighborhoods reminded all of us of the vulnerabilities inherent in life, and in where we live, and of the urgent need to revisit the systems in place to address current needs while investing in our future. Current global events also underscore human vulnerability and the critical importance of thinking anew how we forge a more just world.  


With this in mind, I am pleased to share some optimism in this autumn newsletter, a significant one being the rollout of the City Bar Justice Center’s new three-year strategic plan, Honoring Our Roots, Revisioning Our Commitments. The plan builds on the Justice Center’s decades of commitment, collaboration, and advocacy that have provided high-quality, free civil legal services to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who could not afford counsel to address critical life needs. We are grateful to the Justice Center staff and partners who helped to create this roadmap for our organization’s future growth.  


Also in this newsletter: discover our new student loan help webpage; meet new staff; peruse upcoming events, including our annual pro bono awards recognizing our strongest volunteers of the past year; and read up on new initiatives! Thank you for your continued support and partnership. 

Best regards, 

Kurt M. Denk 

Executive Director 


Honoring Our Roots, Revisioning Our Commitments: The City Bar Justice Center’s Vision and Strategic Direction for the Next Three Years 

This month, the City Bar Justice Center proudly launches a new Strategic Plan for the coming three years – Honoring Our Roots, Revisioning Our Commitments. Our vision is to further innovate client-centered responses to the most pressing challenges and crises facing New Yorkers today; continue providing pro bono legal services with compassion and excellence; and use a data-driven approach to identify areas of unmet legal needs and leverage our in-house expertise and long-term partnerships to mobilize volunteers to expand our impact. Broader recognition of the Justice Center’s work will further our ability to increase equitable access to justice throughout New York City and beyond. Check out a summary of our strategic plan’s four main goals here! 


Welcome to the team! We are excited to introduce Edmund Denfeld, our new Federal Pro Se Assistance Project coordinator, who will help New Yorkers seeking to advocate for themselves in federal court. Andrea Barrientos has joined as our new Fragomen Fellow with our Immigrant Justice Project, helping people seeking humanitarian protection and other forms of relief. Our new interns Claire Poneman and Mary Grace Kelley have both joined our new social work team, helping Justice Center clients with short-term counseling, referrals, and access to mental health resources. Lauren Simonides, having interned with us in the past, has returned as the new Planning and Estates Law Project intern, helping assist those with end-of-life planning, probate, and estates matters.

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The City Bar Justice Center is pleased to announce the winners of its 2023 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Awards! Honoring volunteer attorneys who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to justice, the awards will be bestowed at an in-person celebration on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. Read the full press release

Our Veterans Assistance Project (VAP) is hosting its Annual Veterans Day Breakfast & Ethics CLE on November 10, 2023. Join us as VAP Director Makedah Salmond provides an update on veterans law and our team recognizes the outstanding pro bono work our volunteers have contributed to support New York veterans facing systemic legal barriers. If you are interested in sponsoring and attending the program, please email our Development Associate, Cesar Ruiz, at [email protected]. 

October is Pro Bono Month! This autumn, support our neighbors in need by amplifying the power of pro bono with a contribution to the City Bar Justice Center. We invite you to join us in championing justice for all. Your financial contributions can make a profound difference in ensuring equal access to legal representation for those who cannot afford it. By supporting pro bono, you empower New Yorkers in need and thereby strengthen the foundation of our legal system. Together, let's uphold the noble tradition of pro bono work and advance justice across New York City. Donate today! If you’d like to learn more about the work we’re doing or if you have questions about contributing, please contact Cesar Ruiz at [email protected]. 



The Homeowner Stability Project (HSP) holds Preserving the Family Home: Deed Theft Prevention Public Forum. Congratulations to HSP for a successful forum on deed theft prevention held on September 20th. The session had a great turnout with nearly 50 people attending both virtually and in person. A special thanks to our presenter  K. Scott Kohanowski, HSP Director, and to New York State Attorney General Letitia James and NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. for delivering opening remarks.


The Justice Center’s Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP) student loan initiative is going strong, including webinars, resources, and services. Check out and support in sharing our new student loan help webpage where you can apply for assistance and access resources  for student loan management. This webpage includes CBP’s short, animated video, Strategies for Managing Federal Student Loans, which outlines several key strategies that will help borrowers effectively manage their student loan debt, working towards achieving financial stability and long-term success. Read about CBP’s impact helping borrowers in this story by community member Roman Woodson. 


2023 Summer Intern Reflections. This summer, nine talented undergraduate and law school students gained hands-on experience supporting administrative and programmatic functions of the Justice Center. For reflections from our summer interns highlighting their most rewarding experiences at the Justice Center, click here


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The newsletter editor is Sammy Darris, the City Bar Justice Center's Communication and Outreach Associate. For questions you may reach her at [email protected].

Copyright © 2023 City Bar Justice Center. All rights reserved.

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New York, NY 10036

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