Daphne Schlick Honored with Public Service Award
Daphne Schlick received a Public Service Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) in recognition of her work to assist thousands of low-income victims of financial abuse and fraud and her tireless efforts to create an expert consumer law practice serving the neediest New Yorkers.
Each year NYCLA recognizes public sector attorneys who have distinguished themselves as role models, innovators and problem solvers of complex legal issues. The 2017 Public Service Awards were presented on September 13 to seven honorees at NYCLA’s offices in downtown Manhattan. The event was chaired by Catherine A. Christian, Special Assistant District Attorney for External Affairs and Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit of the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Hon. Troy K Webber of the Appellate Division, First Department, delivered keynote remarks.
“Nothing could give me greater pleasure – or bring more pride to all of us at NYLAG – than to see Daphne honored publicly for her extraordinary accomplishments. Over the course of eight years, she has built a powerhouse practice in the fields of consumer law and foreclosure prevention,” said Beth Goldman, NYLAG’s President and Attorney-in-Charge. “With a laser focus on leveling the playing field for our vulnerable clients, Daphne has been unfailingly creative and innovative — forging unique and invaluable partnerships with the courts and other members of the legal services community and inspiring a new generation of young lawyers and law students who share her passion for expanding access to justice.”
NYLAG’s Consumer Protection Unit, which Schlick directs, consists of a team of attorneys, paralegals, students, and volunteers, and is recognized as a leading provider of consumer and foreclosure prevention services in New York City and State. Under her leadership the Consumer Protection Unit has to date handled over 20,000 consumer cases and over 7,000 foreclosure cases.
Schlick joined NYLAG in 2009 to manage Connect to Care (C2C), an ambitious project funded by UJA-Federation of New York to serve people who had been affected by the economic downturn. Schlick researched and trained NYLAG staff and pro bono attorneys in a range of areas where assistance was needed, including foreclosure prevention, consumer protection, bankruptcy, public benefits, and basic financial counseling. The project has served nearly 4,000 clients since C2C began.
In 2010, Schlick assumed responsibility for NYLAG’s Foreclosure Prevention Project, which she recognized shared many legal characteristics with the consumer protection practice. The project’s 12-person staff now serves all five boroughs, Westchester, and the areas of Suffolk and Nassau Counties where legal services are relatively scarce.
Schlick was also a critical and early proponent of NYLAG’s partnership with the Office of Court Administration to provide on-site critical legal services to unrepresented consumer defendants in Bronx Civil Court. The Court system initiated the Volunteer Lawyer for a Day program to address the staggering increase in the consumer credit docket following the economic downturn. The program provides limited scope representation to pro se litigants who are sued for consumer debt by leveraging law students and pro bono attorneys to litigate consumer cases with NYLAG attorneys and under NYLAG’s supervision. Volunteer Lawyer for a Day has since expanded to Queens and Staten Island and has become a major access point for those seeking to address consumer abuses, fraud, identity theft, and more.
Beyond her role at NYLAG, Schlick is on the education committee of the National Association for Consumer Advocates, a member of the Consumer Advocates Task Force, the Domestic Violence and Consumer Working Group, New Yorkers for Responsible Lending, Bankruptcy Task Force, and provides regular trainings and workshops for city-wide Department of Consumer Affairs Financial Counselors.