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Advocacy: Improving access to justice and protecting the rights of unrepresented litigants 

In Q4 of last year, we focused on several advocacy initiatives, including: expanding e-filing in the New York State Family Courts, testifying at the Unrepresented Litigants Listening Session, and co-signing a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul requesting clemency for a survivor of gender-based violence.

  • Expanding e-filing in the New York State Family Courts. We submitted comments to the Office of Court Administration strongly supporting the expansion of e-filing in the New York State Family Courts and urging a uniform filing system for all New York State trial courts. 
  • Testifying at the Unrepresented Litigants Listening Session. We provided testimony to the Pandemic Practices Working Group which arose to evaluate the court system’s challenges during Covid-19. We spoke about the digital divide, how Family Legal Care has responded, and provided a series of recommendations. 
  • Family Legal Care Co-signs letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul with New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV), Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, and other organizations. We were proud to co-sign a letter requesting clemency for Jacqueline Smalls, a domestic violence survivor who was convicted of manslaughter for stabbing her abuser after he entered her home despite two orders of protection against him. We are grateful Ms. Smalls is now able to rejoin her daughter after Governor Hochul granted her clemency. Our thoughts are with the many survivors, including Nikki Addimando, who remain incarcerated for defending themselves.

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