On August 5th, 2023, AABANY held its Brooklyn Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Brooklyn Community Services Center. The clinic met with 25 clients, coming in with questions about housing, immigration, and family law issues. Volunteer attorneys and interpreters patiently addressed client concerns, answering questions and connecting them to lawyers through AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS).
We thank the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) for organizing and hosting the event. Established in 1965, CPC is a social services organization dedicated to helping Asian American, immigrant, and economically disadvantaged communities within New York City to obtain equitable access to essential resources and opportunities, thus fostering Asian American success.
The next Pro Bono Clinic will be on September 6th, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, and located at AAFE One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave 2nd Floor, Queens, NY 11355. You can sign up here to volunteer. To add the date and time for this clinic to your calendar, click here. For upcoming clinics, please check AABANY’s calendar and update your email preference in your account to receive our emails.
Thank you to our volunteers for supporting the clinic. Your time and dedication is essential for delivering crucial assistance to individuals seeking legal guidance. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to:
Amber Lee Ashley Shan Gary Yeung Kwok Kei Ng May Wong
Interpreters and Observers:
I-Kai Lee Jihyon Kim Ruo Yang Yini Lai
To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, click here.
On Wednesday, July 19th, 2023, AABANY hosted a highly successful Manhattan Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the AAFE (Asian American for Equality) Community Center, at 111 Norfolk Street, where compassionate volunteers offered their time and expertise to provide invaluable free legal services to the community. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, AAFE, our community partners, and our dedicated volunteers! Throughout the evening, we had the privilege of meeting with 22 clients, engaging in discussions of various legal issues, including immigration, housing, and family law. This was a vast increase from last month’s clinic when we had 8 clients.
In partnership with AAFE Community Center and other community partners, we recognize that the success of the Pro Bono Clinic would not be possible without our volunteers’ unwavering dedication to serving the community. By offering services in both Mandarin and Cantonese, we aim to continue to provide support for those who may face linguistic or cultural barriers when seeking access to legal services. Together, we continue to make a difference in the lives of our community members.
Pang-Mei (P.M.) Natasha Chang
Menglong (Anthony) Zhu
Interpreters and Shadowers:
MengXi (Claire) Xiong
Doh Yun (John)
Thanks to all the volunteers, AAFE, community partners, and PBCS Committee who made this Pro Bono Clinic possible. Please join the next Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic taking place on August 16th at AAFE Community Center. To volunteer, please register here by August 11th. For more information, please click here.
On June 21st, 2023, AABANY held its Manhattan Pro Bono Legal Clinic at AAFE (Asian Americans for Equality) Community Center where dedicated volunteers came together to provide free legal services to the community. Thank you to the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, AAFE, our community partners, and our volunteers! We met with 8 clients and discussed issues relating to immigration, housing, and contracts.
In partnership with AAFE Community Center and other community partners, the Pro Bono Clinic would not be possible without the volunteers’ dedication to serving all members of the community, in both Mandarin and Cantonese. It provides indispensable support to those who may face linguistic or cultural barriers in attempting to gain access to legal services.
The next Manhattan clinic will be on July 19th located at AAFE Community Center, 111 Norfolk Street, NY, NY 10002. You can sign up here to volunteer for our next Pro Bono clinic. For upcoming clinics, please check AABANY’s calendar and update your email preference in your account to receive our emails.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers who made this Pro Bono Clinic a success:
AABANY encourages its members to become involved in the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP) this year. The AEP is an initiative of the New York State Unified Court System to promote pro bono civil legal service by senior attorneys. AEP, endorsed by Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson, presents a substantive opportunity for AABANY members to give back and look out for its New York community.
AABANY recognizes the importance of pro bono legal services to ensure fairness in our courts and assist individuals who cannot afford lawyers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s civil justice gap has grown significantly, leading to increased demand for civil legal services in areas such as housing, consumer debt, unemployment benefits, and family law. Through the AEP, senior attorneys who volunteer will provide vital access to justice for New Yorkers facing essential life challenges.
To volunteer, AEP seeks lawyers aged fifty-five or older, retired or still in practice, in good standing, and with ten years experience. Attorney Emeritus volunteers commit to performing 60 hours of pro bono work with an approved legal services organization or court program over the two-year attorney registration period.
Attorney Emeritus volunteers also receive benefits including up to 15 CLE credits and special recognition from Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson.
On May 17, 2023, AABANY held its Manhattan Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Our volunteers met with 17 clients and discussed issues relating to housing, fraud, and government benefits.
Some positive client responses: “I appreciate it so much.” “Good service. I will keep coming monthly.”
The Pro Bono Clinic is organized by AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee. To learn more about the Committee’s work visit here. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated volunteers who made this Pro Bono Clinic a success:
On February 25th, 2023, AABANY held its Brooklyn Pro Bono Legal Clinic at Homecrest Community Services Bensonhurst Center where dedicated volunteers came together to provide free legal services to the community. In partnership with Homecrest and other community partners, the Clinic provided an opportunity for individuals to meet with attorneys to discuss legal issues related to housing, criminal law, and immigration. The volunteers were able to offer guidance on the legal process, discuss potential legal solutions, and help clients understand their rights.
The Clinic was made possible by volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise to help those in need. These volunteers included attorneys, law students, and our community partners who worked together to make a difference in their community. The Clinic provides vital support to those who may not have the resources to access legal services, and the volunteers’ dedication to pro bono work demonstrates the importance of giving back to those in need.
Please consider joining us at our upcoming clinics:
The Pro Bono Clinic is organized by AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee. To learn more about the Committee’s work visit here. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated volunteers who made the Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic such a success:
Thank you AABANY, VNS Chinatown Community Center, and our dedicated volunteers for joining us on January 14, 2023 at the Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic. Shoutout to Gary Yeung, co-chair of the Mentorship Program, for coming out to our clinics twice in a row!!!
We met with 15 clients who had questions about tort, family law/matrimonial, and housing.
Reading through our client satisfaction surveys, these are the remarks from our clients:
“Just appreciate your advice and services.”
“Made me more comfortable about my situation.”
For all law students/law graduates who are seeking to complete the 50 pro bono hours requirement, remember to reach out to us to get more information about the process and what other projects we have on hand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please vist the AABANY’s Calendar and sign up for a listing of events and sign up for upcoming Pro Bono Clinics:
On December 3, 2022, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee partnered with the VNS Health staff to hold a pro bono clinic in VNS Health’s Manhattan community center from 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM.
Overall, we met with 11 clients who had questions about topics such as immigration, housing, and divorce. With help from our many clinic attorneys and volunteers, AABANY’s PBCS attorneys were able to connect clients with AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service, a program that connects prospective clients from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with qualified lawyers who are both linguistically and culturally competent.
AABANY’s PBCS intern Connor Li spoke about his experiences at Saturday’s clinic with great reverence for the work PBCS is able to do through these clinics. He said, “It’s always a pleasure to help out at the clinic. Whether it’s meeting members of the community or listening to experienced legal professionals, I always feel like I’m learning something at every point. And with the help of the amazing VNS staff, clients with urgent needs for legal advice regarding housing, immigration, and familial issues were checked in and assigned to attorneys with great expediency. We were even able to provide Cantonese and Mandarin interpreters at nearly every client meeting, though we could definitely have used the assistance of more Cantonese interpreters. I would definitely encourage more AABANY members or willing individuals from the general public who know Cantonese to come to these clinics. Your help would be appreciated!”
As with every clinic, free lunch was provided for all attorney and non-attorney volunteers by PBCS. We thank all 11 of our volunteers for coming to provide their invaluable assistance! As always, if you have any questions about upcoming clinics, please contact us at email@example.com. Thanks again for attending, and happy holidays!
Interpreters & Observers
Please make plans to join us as a volunteer at the next Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic on January 14, or please help us spread the word. More details here.
AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee would like to thank everyone who attended the second and third hybrid Manhattan pro bono clinics in September and October, as well as the soft opening of the Queens pro bono clinic this past Saturday, Oct. 30. The three clinics assisted a total of fifty-five (55) clients, who sought advice on a range of topics, including housing law, immigration, elder law, loans and contracts, marriage and divorce, estates law and drafting of wills and powers of attorney, discrimination, 9/11 compensation, and fraud. PBCS and AABANY are grateful to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for co-sponsoring and hosting these clinics.
The clinics for the past two months could not have happened without the gracious help of many AABANY members and committees. During the September pro bono clinic, in collaboration with AABANY’s Bankruptcy Committee, PBCS provided a “Know Your Rights” presentation on the topic of bankruptcy and consumer debt. During the October clinics, Rina Gurung and Kevin Hsi, two of the three co-chairs of AABANY’s Government Service and Public Interest Committee, and Zhixian (Jessie) Liu, a co-chair of AABANY’s Immigration Committee, helped PBCS out by volunteering to see clients for one-on-one informational consultations. Thanks to AABANY’s Committees for their camaraderie!
At the pro bono clinics, PBCS volunteers use quick issue-spotting skills to help members of the AAPI community and those with limited English proficiency know what their rights are. For instance, while answering housing questions, a volunteer discovered that a 70-year-old couple living at a rent-stabilized apartment was eligible for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exception (SCRIE). SCRIE is a program that allows qualified tenants to have their rent frozen at their current level and be exempt from future rent increases. This is crucial since most seniors depend on their fixed income. If their rent goes up, qualified SCRIE tenants do not have to pay the higher rent, as the City will pay the landlord the difference between the current rent and the future rent. The 70-year-old couple who came into the PBCS clinic will receive assistance from AAFE to apply for SCRIE.
In order to be eligible for SCRIE, an applicant must be 62 years or older, have less than $50,000 in household income, spend more than 1/3 of monthly income on rent, and reside in a NYC rent-stabilized apartment, rent-controlled apartment, rent-regulated hotel or single room occupancy unit, Mitchell-Lama development, Limited Dividend Housing Company development, Redevelopment Company development, or Housing Development Fund Company development. Senior citizens who own homes, condominiums or private non-government supervised co-ops may also be eligible for SCRIE. To learn more about SCRIE, see https://access.nyc.gov/programs/senior-citizens-rent-increase-exemption-%E2%80%8Bscrie/.
To learn more about the PBCS Committee and its work, click here and here. The next hybrid legal clinics will take place on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at AAFE, 2 Allen Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10002; and Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at CCBA, 62 Mott Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10013. For up-to-date details about the clinic and other events, please check PBCS’s event calendar.
And as always, we are always looking for volunteers to help us out!
AABANY announced on May 28, 2021, that through the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committee and the Student Outreach Committee (SOC), it established a phone line to aid limited English proficient (LEP) applicants in applying for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, also known as Section 8. Section 8 is a government rental housing program that allows low-income families, the elderly and disabled to rent privately-owned and safe housing. Applicants will be selected by the New York State Homes & Community Renewal (NYSHCR) agency’s Section 8 Voucher Waitlist Lottery. The deadline for application is May 28, 11:59 AM ET. As for ERAP, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is offering a program that provides rental and utility assistance to eligible New York residents who owe arrears. Households will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as funds remain available.
When applying for housing and aid, many LEP applicants have had difficulty finding language assistance. AABANY hopes to help LEP applicants who do not have electronic access in completing the application by telephone. Interested applicants may contact (929) 251-3022 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time with an AABANY volunteer to receive aid in contacting HCR and the OTDA.
To view AABANY’s flyer about the Section 8 Waitlist Lottery, click on the image above.
To read more about AABANY’s efforts to aid the Chinese LEP community, click here.