One Case, Many Takeaways: Bei Yang’s Experience with AABANY Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic

By Bei Yang

As an out-of-state law graduate from Tennessee, I was not familiar with any specific New York practice rules. While waiting for my bar exam results and preparing for my legal career in New York, and with the encouragement of my mentor Mr. Rocky Chin, I participated in the AABANY Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic. The Clinic provides legal information and referrals to individuals, particularly those with limited English proficiency, with legal issues such as immigration, housing, employment, family, elder law, anti-Asian violence, and those pertaining to small businesses.

After registration, I received an email with a list of cases that was sent to all volunteers. Volunteers can choose to take on one or more cases based on interests or experience, and if you are not licensed or not experienced in a specific area, the Clinic partners you with a more experienced attorney to remotely shadow and learn from. Since I have not yet been admitted and this was my first time volunteering, I decided to shadow Ms. May Wong, an experienced volunteer attorney, on a contract law case.

Before making a callback, Ms. Wong and I knew that our client only spoke Mandarin and had been recently served with a Summons. With this limited information at hand, we discussed the legal matters that we needed to inform the client of. These matters included the risk of a default judgment if the clinic client did not respond to the service in a timely fashion (CPLR §3215: default judgment), the possible defenses the client might take, like defects in the service of process (§CPLR 308: Methods of personal service upon a natural person), and the statute of limitations (CPLR §213(2): 6 years for a breach of contract claim in New York). Ms. Wong then patiently went over the normal calling process and basic civil procedure in New York with me. Only after making sure that I did not have any more questions and was comfortable to make the call, she started our three-way phone call with the clinic client.

On the call, we explained our limited roles and asked the client to elaborate on the facts of his case. While acting as a language interpreter, I was able to ask the caller questions about his case to narrow down the issues, thus gaining useful intake skills. I learned that this case was about a family business dispute worth $25,000. The caller was not represented by an attorney and we strongly encouraged him to engage one rather than risking a default judgment, which is enforceable for 20 years and would cost him more money to vacate.

Not only did the client receive useful legal information regarding his case, but he also felt like his voice was finally heard. Volunteering with the pro bono clinic was a great experience, as I was able to learn so much about New York civil procedure rules and gain a lot of important legal experience from just one case. I look forward to continuing my volunteering experience to become an advocate to help those with limited resources and language skills.

To volunteer for the Remote Pro Bono Clinic, please email: clinic.volunteer@aabany.org.

For more information about AABANY Pro Bono Resources, please visit: https://probono.aabany.org/

Law Student Mixer at District Social

AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee was pleased to host the Annual Law Student Mixer at District Social in midtown Manhattan on Thursday, September 6, 2019. Local APALSA leaders, law students, and AABANY members gathered to mingle and foster new connections. Following in the footsteps of last year’s Law Student Mixer, the entire private cellar of the venue was specifically reserved for this event. Despite the weather, there were 60 attendees present, filling out the venue space. Attendees were treated to an assortment of delicious gastropub foods including flatbreads, sliders, and parmesan fries.

The event was co-sponsored by AABANY’s Asia Practice, Membership, Student Outreach and Young Lawyers Committees. The committees were successful in introducing law students to AABANY at what was the first AABANY event for many of them.

Thank you to the co-chairs of the four committees for co-hosting this successful event. If you are not already a member, we hope your attendance brings you closer to becoming a member or renewing your membership, and thank you to all of the members who came out. We encourage everyone to attend the next AABANY mixer on October 30.

Volunteer for the NYLAG Consumer Credit Volunteer Lawyer for the Day (VLFD) Program

The Consumer Credit Volunteer Lawyer for the Day (VLFD) program is an innovative court program, which provides limited-scope, day-only representation to unrepresented litigants in consumer debt cases. 

This is an ideal opportunity for a law student, recent law graduate or admitted attorney to gain litigation skills with the close guidance of an on-site supervising attorney. Volunteers have the unparalleled opportunity to represent clients in court, negotiate with opposing counsel, and argue motions before a judge. 

Currently, there are thousands of debt collection cases in New York City every year.  About 98% of defendants in these cases appear unrepresented. This often leads to intimidation through the legal system and abuses in the collections process. Volunteers provide critical assistance to individuals who otherwise may be unable to defend themselves.

The Consumer Credit Volunteer Lawyer for a Day program (VLFD) seeks several volunteers to represent clients on-site in the Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island Civil Courts. 

Qualifications

The ideal candidate will: 

  • Be a current law student, a recent law graduate (who took the first available bar exam post law school), or an admitted New York attorney 
  • Be able to communicate effectively 
  • Have strong attention to detail
  • Have a positive attitude 
  • Have strong desire to be involved in litigation and client advocacy
  • Have a professional demeanor, even under pressure
  • Be punctual
  • Be able to handle a fast-paced environment
  • Be able to take direction and feedback constructively
  • Be able to adapt to a changing court environment and handle unexpected situations

More about NYLAG: The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) provides free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers.  NYLAG clients include immigrants, seniors, the homebound, families facing foreclosure, renters facing eviction, low-income consumers, those in need of government assistance, children in need of special education, domestic violence survivors, persons with disabilities, patients with chronic illness or disease, low-wage workers, low-income members of the LGBT community, Holocaust survivors, and others in need.

To Apply: E-mail resume and cover letter indicating your interest in consumer credit issues, social justice, and/or civil litigation to volunteer@nylag.org with “Consumer VLFD” in the subject line.

2018 NAPABA Law Foundation Summer Public Interest Internship Scholarship

2018 NAPABA Law Foundation Summer Public Interest Internship Scholarship

KALAGNY’s Law Student Scholarship

From KALAGNY’s April 24, 2013 Announcements

KALAGNY Announces $1000 Law Student Scholarship

KALAGNY is currently seeking submission of applications from its law student members for the third annual KALAGNY Law Student Scholarship Award in the amount of $1000 which will be presented to the winning law student member at KALAGNY’s upcoming 27th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at the Harvard Club in New York City. The scholarship will be given to the law student member who has demonstrated the most outstanding commitment to and support for the Korean American community in Greater New York and who exhibits dedication to use his/her legal knowledge and skills to continue this commitment and support. The scholarship will be awarded based on merit. Applications are due Wednesday, May 15, 2013.   Click here for details and eligibility requirements.

AALFNY 2013 Scholarships

SPREAD THE WORD!  Each year, the Asian American Law Fund of New York (the “Fund”) awards up to three scholarships of up to $5000 to law students that are committed to helping the Asian American community in New York.  The Fund recognizes that at a time when money is tight, committing one’s time to our community service organizations can be a financial strain, especially when considering law school tuition and living expenses. 

If you are a law student and are planning to work with a community service organization in the New York area during the summer 2013, you are eligible to apply.  Go to bit.ly/AALFNY_SchlrshpForm_2013 for more details and to download a copy of the Scholarship Application.  The completed Scholarship Application and all required materials must be postmarked by April 1, 2013.