Public hearing to focus on legal services for low-income families

The growing need — and shrinking budget — for civil legal services will be the topic of a four-hour hearing tomorrow in Westchester County court.

The hearings are being spearheaded by the state’s top judge, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who has been a vocal advocate for greater funding to offer low-income residents legal representation in non-criminal cases of mortgage foreclosures, eviction proceedings and medical benefit denials. The hearings in Westchester will be the first of four held across the state.

Here is the schedule of speakers and topics:

10 a.m. Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore will address the “Importance of Civil Representation in the Criminal Context.”
10:20 a.m. Attorney David Boies, a managing partner in Boies Schiller & Flexner, will discuss “Equal Access to Justice Today.”
10:55 a.m. A panel of legal services clients will discuss their experiences with the legal system. Panelists include Justin Rosario, a student, and his mother Alina Saez, in a special education case.
11:35 a.m. A discussion about foreclosures with panelists including John Lindstrom, Orange County Supreme Court Referee; Faith Piatt, Executive Director of the Orange County Rural Advisory Corp.; attorney Barbara Strauss, the former president of the Orange County Bar Association and an Orange County resident who fought a foreclosure case.
12:20 p.m. A judicial panel with Westchester County Surrogate Judge Anthony Scarpino, Orange County Family Court Judge Lori Currier Woods and Yonkers Family Court Judge Janet C. Malone.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.