Fordham Law


Judge Marrero to Reflect on the State of Pro Bono in New York

June 13, 2013

On Thursday, June 27, the Honorable Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will deliver a lecture entitled “Pro Bono Legal Services: The Silent Majority—A 25 Year Retrospective." The event will take place at Fordham Law School in the Moot Court Room (Room 304) at 5:30 p.m.

Twenty-five years ago Judge Marrero, at the time a partner in a New York law firm, was appointed by the Chief Judge of New York State to act as chair of a “Committee to Improve the Availability of Legal Services.” The Committee included many leading members of the bench and bar, including former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, U.S. Attorney Robert Fiske, former Preisdent of Barnard Ellen Futter—now President of the American Museum of Natural History—several bar association presidents, and lawyers from throughout the state.

The main recommendation of that Committee was to propose “that all lawyers admitted to practice and registered as attorneys in New York be required to provide a minimum of 40 hours of qualifying pro bono legal services every two years.”

That proposal was not implemented, and a quarter century has now passed. Judge Marrero will discuss that report and the current state of the availability of legal services. Catherine Christian, Esq., will offer a response.

A response to Judge Marrero’s lecture will be presented by Catherine A. Christian, former president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and current Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

All of the original members of the Committee that made the proposal have been invited to the lecture, and several are expected to attend. Also expected to attend are the two most recent Chief Judges of New York State.