Maurice A. Deane, School of Law, Hofstra University.
The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University has launched a program to help pro se litigants with civil issues at the Eastern District of New York’s Central Islip courthouse.
The clinic, which was opened in January, is staffed by an attorney, a law professor and five students. The University at Buffalo School of Law has a pro se assistance program in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York.
The law school is hosting a reception to celebrate the program's opening from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Central Islip courthouse.
"The lack of legal representation for the poor is an issue of national concern and we are thrilled that the Hofstra pro se program will offer assistance to unrepresented persons in navigating the complexities of federal litigation," Chief Judge Dora L. Irizarry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York said in a prepared statement.
“Assisting pro se litigants has been an eye-opening experience," law student Nicholas Bruno said in the same statement. "Not only have I been able to see the difficulties of representing one’s self, but I’ve also gained valuable professional experience early on in my first year of law school.”
The program, which is being partly funded with a $50,000 grant from the Eastern District of New York’s Civil Litigation Fund, handles civil rights issues, employment discrimination, Social Security benefits appeals and other civil matters. It is being supervised by professor Jennifer Gundlach and staff attorney Ka Fei Wong.
Pro se litigants can get help from 10 a.m to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday. Appointments can be scheduled by emailing PSLAP@hofstra.edu or by calling 631-297-2575.