Pro Bono News

Legal Services Attorney's Life Comes Full Circle as She Assists Those in Need (NY)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Legal Services Attorney's Life Comes Full Circle as She Assists Those in Need

"STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- With plenty of sad news making headlines these days, Tashanna Golden's story is a refreshing change -- a feel-good story about a Staten Island resident whose life has come full circle.

After growing up in the West Brighton projects, Golden speaks from her heart when she says she felt folks never really expected that much from her.

"I was fortunate to have family, friends, teachers and mentors who always encouraged and believed in me,'' says the Travis resident. "And if you ask anyone who knew me growing up, they knew I always wanted to be a lawyer." 

In  her role as director of the Housing Unit at Staten Island Legal Services, she is able to  directly assist people who live in her former neighborhood. And she views it as a blessing. Practicing law in a courtroom that's 15 minutes from where she grew up is an amazing feeling, she said.

Legal Services provides free civil legal  representation, counseling and advocacy in areas ranging from housing and education to family and disability rights. Located in all five boroughs, it has  assisted more than 111,000 low-income New Yorkers with complicated civil legal issues.

On any given day in court, Golden sees people she grew up with, some who she always considered to be staples in the community.

"Sometimes it's uncomfortable,'' she admits,  "But, overall, I think me being there gives them a sense that someone is, in fact, there to help them.'' As the director of the Housing Unit, she has the ability  to steer the practice in a way that will create stronger ties  to the community, she said.

"In the new year we are hoping to not only work defensively -- representing clients in non-payments and holdovers in housing court, but also affirmatively, by filing cases against landlords we believe are breaking the law," she said.

Golden was named the director of the Housing Unit in October 2018, after working as a staff attorney in the unit for almost three and a half years.

She attended St. John's University at night while working full time as a paralegal during the day.
During the spring of 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in English. She studied law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she graduated with a juris doctorate in May 2008.

Upon graduating, she began her legal career as an associate in the Securities Litigation group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, an AmLaw 100 firm. While there, she represented several clients in what's known as "bet the business" litigations, but also spent significant amounts of time on pro bono cases, where she represented low-income clients in several different capacities..."

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