The New York State Access to Justice Program and NYLAG launched the Consumer Debt Volunteer Lawyer for a Day for unrepresented litigants in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Because of the current economic downturn, significant numbers of New Yorkers are finding themselves summoned to court by debt collectors. In 2008 alone, nearly 300,000 consumer credit cases were filed in New York City’s Civil Courts. Even though all plaintiff creditors have counsel, only about 1% of consumer debtor defendants have legal representation. Nearly all of these defendants have nowhere to turn for legal advice because of the lack of free legal services available in these matters. The Volunteer Lawyer for a Day program provides clients with much-needed representation in defending their collection actions.

Volunteer attorneys and student interns have the opportunity to represent clients in Court, negotiate with opposing counsel, and argue before a judge. Student volunteers gain invaluable, hands-on experience in lawyering, while seasoned attorneys gain stimulating pro bono experience as they help some of New York’s most disadvantaged civil litigants obtain due process of law. The program is supervised by an on-site coordinating attorney with expertise in consumer credit law.

Bronx Civil Court
851 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY
Monday – Thursday
9am to 1pm

Queens Civil Court
89-17 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, NY
Mondays and Thursdays
9am to 1pm

Staten Island Civil Court
927 Castleton Avenue
Staten Island, NY
9am to 1pm

For additional help and legal assistance consumers can contact The Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO), which provides limited legal advice to low-income New Yorkers being sued by debt collectors:

To apply for the Volunteer Lawyer for a Day Program, complete our online Get Involved form or send a cover letter and resume to [email protected].