On March 21, the Feerick Center held a recognition program for volunteers of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Westchester CLARO programs. Speakers included Professor John D. Feerick, center founder and senior counsel, and Dora Galacatos, executive director of the center. In all, about 40 volunteer attorneys, volunteer students, CLARO experts, friends, and colleagues attended the recognition program. The Feerick Center and the New York County Lawyer’s Association invited nominations of Bronx, Manhattan, and Westchester CLARO volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional service to consumers in need.
- Susan Shin, legal director for New Economy Project, received special recognition for her service as a CLARO law expert.
- Patrick Castellan ’77 received special recognition for his work as a Bronx CLARO volunteer. Anne Nacinovich, senior staff attorney with Bronx Legal Services and Bronx CLARO consumer law expert, presented Pat with the special recognition.
- Leslie Holland ‘XX was recognized for her longstanding volunteer efforts at Bronx CLARO.
- Fordham Law graduating student Tzipora Zeines ’18 received special recognition for her work administering Manhattan CLARO for all three years that she has attended law school.
CLARO programs provide limited-scope legal advice to New Yorkers in all five boroughs on consumer debt–related issues at weekly clinics held at New York City civil courthouses. The CLARO programs operate under the auspices of the New York State Unified Court System’s Access to Justice Program. The Feerick Center is involved with three of the boroughs (Manhattan, Bronx, and Staten Island). High numbers of defendants in these cases in New York City (almost 85%) are unrepresented by counsel. Each CLARO session is staffed with volunteer attorneys who provide legal assistance; consumer law experts who provide supervision and support; and volunteer law students who conduct initial intake interviews and administer clinic sessions. Volunteers explain the court process and documents, examine possible defenses, consider proper responses, and empower lower income New Yorkers with the necessary tools needed to better defend themselves in court.
Many volunteer attorneys and students have made CLARO part of their weekly routine because they recognize the great need for such assistance in New York City Civil Court. The 2017 CLARO recognition program had a wonderful feeling, and it was clear from each personalized peer nomination that the dedication of each volunteer does not go unnoticed. These CLARO programs are successful because of the amazing group of attorneys, experts, students, and partners. Since 2008, our volunteers have demonstrated a strong commitment to the CLARO programs by contributing their time, talents, and resources to serve thousands of New Yorkers in need of legal assistance.