Responding to a plea from New York’s top judge, state lawmakers approved $25-million to support nonprofit groups that provide civil legal services to the needy, says Reuters.
The allocation announced Tuesday by the state’s Office of Court Administration, which administers legal-aid grants, doubles annual support for the program, which has been battered in recent years by federal and local budget cuts. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman had requested the boost in funding.
Judge Lippman recently ordered that lawyers applying to the New York bar show they have done a minimum amount of pro bono work.
The largest allocations will go to the Legal Aid Society of New York and Legal Services NYC, which will each receive $3.1-million after getting less than half that amount last year.
With slashed federal and New York City support, “the picture is pretty bleak for legal service providers around the state,” said Raun Rasmussen, executive director of Legal Services NYC, “which is why this state money is really a lifesaver for our clients.”