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NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services Holding Public Hearings on Financial Eligibility for Counsel in Family Court, May 31 (Manhattan); June 19 (Albany); July 17 (Brooklyn); August 14 (Rochester)

Why NY’s Criminal Discovery Reforms Aren't a Boon to E-Discovery, NYLJ, July 26, 2019

NY State Legislature Passes New Open Adoption Bill to Protect Children’s Family Bonds, Rise Magazine, July 25, 2019

Immigration Court Interpreters Say Video Teleconferencing Makes It Difficult To Do Their Jobs, Gothamist, July 22, 2019

The Shocking Lack of Lawyers in Rural America, The Atlantic, July 18, 2019


NYSDA is Hiring!

NYSDA Celebrates Historic Justice Reforms, Exemplary Defenders. At its Annual Conference July 21-22, 2019, NYSDA celebrated legislative justice reforms, trained hundreds of lawyers about implementation of those reforms and other developments, and held an awards banquet where four public defense lawyers were recognized for their extraordinary work as advocates, trainers, and client-centered counsel.

Two attorneys from The Legal Aid Society each received a 2019 Jonathan E. Gradess Service of Justice Award: John Schoeffel, a lawyer in LAS's Criminal Defense Practice, Special Litigation and Training Units, and Peter Mitchell, LAS Director of Training, Criminal Division. Claudia Schultz, Managing Attorney, Criminal Defense, at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., accepted the 2019 Wilfred R. O'Connor award. And Rebecca Town, Staff Attorney in the Criminal Defense Unit of Buffalo Legal Aid, was selected by the Genesee County Public Defender Office as the 2019 recipient of the Kevin M. Andersen Memorial Award.

Legislative reforms that will dramatically increase justice in criminal court and Family Court were the focus of the conference, both in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions attended by around 350 lawyers and in discussions, formal and informal alike. NYSDA worked hard, along with many others, to secure the reforms described in the May-July issue of the Backup Center REPORT. NYSDA thanks the Legislature and the Governor for the parental and criminal justice improvements passed near the end of the legislative session and, again, for the historic pretrial criminal justice reforms that were part of the state budget.

Recipients of Awards at NYSDA's 2019 Annual Conference

John Turi Steps into NYSDA Presidency as Ed Nowak Steps Away. Edward J. Nowak, a member of NYSDA's Board of Directors for 39 years and its President for 29 of them, received an outpouring of appreciation at the Annual Conference, where his resignation was announced. Nowak continued as President for over a decade after retiring as the Monroe County Public Defender; the Association deeply appreciates his dedication. His successor, Rensselaer County Public Defender John Turi, has been on the Board since 2015. NYSDA is grateful for his willingness to take on this role!

CLE Doesn’t Stop Just Because the Annual Conference is Over. While the 2019 opportunity to get a year's worth of high-quality CLE relevant to public defense in one venue has passed, NYSDA is already busy planning future CLE events. And the NY Statewide Public Defense Training Calendar keeps defenders apprised of other CLE opportunities around the state and the nation.

NYSDA Helps Lawyers, Improves Parental Defense. Through continuing legal education programs and direct defenders services as well as reform advocacy, NYSDA works to help public defense lawyers who represent parents/respondents in Family Court provide quality legal services. Contact Family Court Staff Attorney Kim Bode at the Backup Center for more information:

Having provided testimony to the Chief Judge's Commission on Parental Legal Representation, and apprised family defenders and others about the release of its interim report, NYSDA will continue to assess and address public defense needs in family representation.

VDP Improves the Representation of Those Who Served. NYSDA's Veterans Defense Program (VDP) has helped hundreds of justice-involved veterans through consultation and assistance in their cases, and trained hundreds of public defense attorneys representing veterans in New York State’s criminal and family courts. Information about VDP is set out in the separate budget testimony offered in successfully seeking continued funding for the Program. NYSDA now operates VDP offices in two locations: Batavia (585-219-4862) and Central Islip, at Touro Law School (631-650-2331). VDP's Director is Gary Horton (, and Blair Hill ( and Sandra Cassidy ( are VDP Staff Attorneys.


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1/1/2019 » 12/31/2019
For NYSDA Training Programs, see the Statewide PD Training Calendar




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