August 2011 Volunteer Feature: Longtime Volunteer Honored for Helping Expand LGBT Law Project
Clara Ricciardi, a volunteer attorney at NYLAG since 2009, was honored at the UJA-Federation of New York's recent Volunteer Recognition Ceremony for her hard work and dedication to NYLAG's LGBT Law Project. On a daily basis, Ricciardi responds to telephone intake calls, advocates on behalf of clients, conducts legal research, and drafts motions and other court documents. Thanks to her involvement over the last two years, the LGBT Law Project has significantly expanded the number of individuals it is able to help. Perhaps the most important of her contributions to the Project's success has been to enhance its ability to draft wills and other life planning documents for clients. Ricciardi was instrumental in forming the LGBT Life Planning Legal Clinic, which handles these areas.
NYLAG's LGBT Law Project partnered with the LGBT Law Association Foundation of Greater New York to create and operate the new clinic, held at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan. The clinic was formed in response to the increasing need for life planning documents that provide legal protection and address the unique needs of the LGBT community. At the clinic, volunteer attorneys assist low-income LGBT individuals with the preparation and completion of essential documents such as health care proxies, living wills, powers of attorney and wills, helping to ensure the fulfillment of their wishes.
"Every day we learn about members of our community who are in crisis as a result of not having basic planning documents in place," said Virginia Goggin, Project Coordinator of NYLAG's LGBT Law Project. "Through this clinic, we are successfully preventing these problems before they start."
The UJA-Federation of New York's annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding volunteers across its vast network. Ricciardi was recognized for her fierce advocacy and extraordinary commitment to advancing the rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Virginia Goggin and the other talented and dedicated people at NYLAG to provide legal assistance to the LGBT community," Ricciardi said. For more information on the Project, please visit its web site at www.nylag.org/lgbt.