The coronavirus pandemic has led to an economic catastrophe for millions of people, and New York Bar Association President Hank Greenberg says it plans to offer free legal services to people affected.
"These legal challenges and these legal needs, we expect, will arise from all throughout the state, not just in urban areas, but suburban areas and rural areas, and we want to build a network of lawyers for people who cannot afford attorneys," Greenberg said.
New Yorkers could be faced with a variety of legal issues, as rent this month goes unpaid and other bills pile up. For now, Governor Andrew Cuomo has blocked evictions and foreclosures.
"People, when they are dealing with this crisis, don't need to fear they're going to be the subject of those kinds of proceedings, but when the crisis subsides and those executive orders are lifted, I think there will be increasing demand," Greenberg said.
Greenberg said there's a "justice gap" for low-income and middle-class people who can't afford legal representation when they need it.
"And that crisis, that gap, is likely to expand exponentially when the crisis subsides," Greenberg said.
For now, the bar association is recruiting the bro bono legal staff and will have services available throughout the state.