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Launch of Deferred Associate Law Extern Support Project

Monday, October 19, 2009

  • Organization: City Bar Justice Center

In September, the New York City Bar and City Bar Justice Center launched the Deferred Associate Law Extern Support Project, made possible by a grant from the New York Community Trust. The Project was devised in response to the growing pool of law school graduates who are deferred for up to a year from private law firms, and who have chosen to work in public interest law in New York City.

The Project provides a series of training sessions that help deferred associates get up to speed on the hard and soft skills needed to succeed in their externships and at their firms. The Project also aims to bring externs together to discuss their experiences in a supportive environment, and to meet judges and established lawyers who support pro bono and public service efforts.

An intensive first week of trainings and panels in September included an Introduction to Interviewing and Counseling Clients; Cross-Cultural Lawyering Skills; Research, Resources, and Case Management; and a keynote address by Nina Bernstein, Metro Reporter for the New York Times. Additional trainings and social events are scheduled through mid-December. A list of all upcoming events can be found at www.probono.net/fellows.

The City Bar Justice Center itself is hosting seven deferred associates. These young attorneys come from Bingham McCutchen; Blank Rome LLP; Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP; Dewey & LeBoeuf; Latham & Watkins LLP; Shearman & Sterling LLP; and White & Case LLP. They are working, some for a few months and many for a full year, with several of the Justice Center’s projects, doing research, organizing clinics and trainings, meeting with clients, and working on case matters.

"We are very excited to have all of these externs working with us," says Carol Bockner, Director of Pro Bono Initiatives for the City Bar Justice Center. "They are able to assist our projects in serving needy clients, while learning concrete lawyering skills they can take back with them to their practice at the firm. It's really a win-win-win situation."

Christopher Smith, a deferred associate working with the Justice Center's Legal Clinic for the Homeless, comments on his experience so far: "The opportunity to work at the City Bar Justice Center has afforded me practical day-to-day experience with real clients, the chance to continue developing and honing my skills, and a friendly environment to practice in with other deferred associates and dedicated attorneys," he says.

The City Bar Justice Center is excited to see all of the work that deferred associates will accomplish over the year, and is thankful to externs throughout New York for the hard work they’re putting in on behalf of some of the city’s most vulnerable.

 

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