{ November/23/2014 }

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Pro Bono

Pro Bono Attorney

By: Lianne S. Pinchuk, Esq.

(From the January 2014 Newsletter)

Pro Bono Corner

A Little Legal Knowledge Goes a Long Way
Last week, Eileen Guinan had a client come see her.  He was befuddled by his living situation.  This client, a young man who was not a native English speaker, had been sent from agency to agency, group to group, looking for help.  He had a “roommate” problem.  An acquaintance had taken up residence in his spare bedroom and refused to leave.   Initially, this acquaintance was supposed to apply to get on the lease, but instead stayed and made our client very uncomfortable.
Our client had gone to the police – and told them he had problems with a roommate/potential tenant.  Due to the language barriers, the police interpreted his story and determined that this was an eviction so they told him it was a civil matter.  He sought our help.  Based on his initial explanation to us, we also assumed it was a landlord-tenant matter and that we should put together eviction papers.  As I began to prepare eviction papers, and continued to get details from this young man, it became clear that this was a “squatter” problem and there was no way to fit the situation neatly into an eviction petition.  I could not allege the existence of a landlord-tenant relationship; I could not point to any agreement to pay rent; and I could not even define our client’s role as a petitioner with standing to bring such an action.   It seemed that this was, in fact, a matter for the police. 
We helped our client talk through the facts of his situation and came up with a clear statement for him to provide to the police – making it clear that this was not a landlord-tenant matter to be dealt with in civil court.  Thankfully, the police were then able to resolve the problem.
Helping this client took only a smidgen of legal knowledge – essentially knowledge about what isn’t an eviction.  This knowledge, along with Eileen’s tremendous patience in dealing with the language barrier, made all the difference to one client. 
As always, we are looking for more attorneys for our pro bono panel.  As you can see from my story above, helping a client can be easy and still have a huge impact on the client’s life.  Please email me at lpinchuk@albanycountybar.com to volunteer to take a pro bono case.   I will be here to help you out along the way. 

(From the December 2013 Newsletter)

My name in Lianne Pinchuk.  I have been a practicing attorney for the past 13 years and I started working for the Albany County Bar Association in November.  Before I was hired, the Bar Association (an association of lawyers!) did not have an attorney on staff, and I am very happy to be the one to change that. 

I graduated from Columbia Law School in 2000 and spent 8 years working at a large NYC-based international law firm before deciding to move on.  I came to the Capital District (after brief stints in Burlington, Vermont and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in 2008.  I spent the past 5 years working with the talented attorneys at Ganz Wolkenbreit & Siegfeld in their robust commercial litigation practice.  Recently, I decided to shift my focus away from private practice and was lucky enough to land at the Bar Association in the role of Pro Bono Attorney.  I am excited to have this opportunity to introduce myself and this new position to all of you.  I will be working closely with the wonderful pro bono coordinator at the Bar Association, Eileen Guinan.  I have a lot to learn from her about the ACBA’s many existing pro bono programs. 

I am looking forward to meeting, and working with, many of you through the Bar Association’s pro bono programs.  With Chief Judge Lippman’s continued emphasis on pro bono work, the Bar Association hired me to expand pro bono opportunities for law students and supervise law students working with the ACBA to complete their mandatory pro bono requirements.   At the same time, I would like to work with you - our membership - in order to be able to serve more pro bono clients and provide additional one-on-one learning opportunities for students. 

I am using this introduction as my first (of many) call for pro bono volunteers.  If you have never volunteered for a pro bono case through the Bar Association, you may get a call from me soon espousing the benefits of doing so.  Volunteering through the Bar Association is a great way to give back to the community and gain valuable experience.  As an employee of the ACBA, I am available as a reference and will soon be able to assign a law student to help you with some of the work associated with a pro bono case referred through the ACBA.  Please take a moment to go to the form on our website and volunteer for our pro bono programs - we could use your help! You can also contact me directly with any questions, or to volunteer, at lpinchuk@albanycountybar.com

I hope you will be able to join the ACBA at our Holiday Party at the Hampton Inn downtown on December 19th, please come find me and introduce yourself - I would love to meet more Bar Association members. 


November 2014 NEWSLETTER

Albany County Bar Association
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