All attorneys hired to work for the Legal Aid Society are required to make a three-year commitment to remain at the Society. Newly hired attorneys remain probationary for a three-year period. At the completion of the three-year priod, a decision based upon both the attorney's performance and the current staffing needs of the office is made as to whether the attorney will be asked to stay on as a tenured member of the staff. In the case of a District Court attorney (see below), this will only be done if there is a curent or pending opening in the County Court Bureau.

There are four distinct bureaus at the Legal Aid Society which encompass the entire legal practice. Each assumes a different part of the Society's responsibilities.

Attorneys who want to try criminal cases before juries will begin in the District Court Bureau, where they will represent clients charged with misdemeanors and violations. This is the largest bureau at the Legal Aid Society as it handles the highest volume of cases in the office. This bureau is responsible for representing all defendants charged with misdemeanors and violations from the inception of a case until the final disposition through plea bargaining, trial, or dismissals after motions. Attorneys in this bureau also represent individuals charged with pre-indictment felonies and may occasionally handle parole revocation defense.

All of the District Court attorneys are personally responsible for their caseloads, yet there is a constant exchange of ideas between all members of the staff. Inexperienced attorneys receive personal supervision on their cases, which includes having a supervisor act as co-counsel during an attorney's first trial. This ensures individualized training for the attorney and at the same time assures proper representation.

Attorneys who have been in the Distirct Court Bureau for three years may be asked to stay on as a member of the County Court Bureau, which represents clients charged with felonies.

Attorneys interested in criminal litigation from a different vantage point may be considered for the Society's Appeals Bureau. Attorneys in this Bureau need excellent writing skills and strong academic backgrounds. New attorneys in the Appeals Bureau can expect to file their first Briefs in appeals of misdemeanor cases within a few months of arrival at the Society. From the first day on the job, they work with the Bureau Chief to review cases, formulate the appropriate issues and brainstorm arguments. They will then conduct research on these issues, and draft a proper appellate Brief. Within six months, they may have their first cases on the calendar before the Appellate Term of the Supreme Court. As attorneys become more experienced, they handle felony appeals to the Appellate Division, Second Department in Brooklyn, and perhaps federal Habeas Corpus petitions in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

In previous years, the Appeals Bureau has also handled litigation in support of prisoners' rights at the Nassau County Correctional Center, and argued numerous times before the New York Court of Appeals. For more on the Society's accomplishments there, click here.

For attorneys not seeking work in criminal law, we also maintain a small but dedicated Family Court Bureau. This Bureau represents clients in maters involving child neglect and abuse, custody and visitation rights, family protection orders, termination of parental rights, and the defense of respondents in paternity cases and violations of support orders.

A new attorney in the Bureau begins with support, paternity and family offense cases. The Bureau Chief reviews the case with the new attorney and advises what questions to raise. New attorneys spend time observing other members of the Bureau in Family Court before handling their own assigned cases. Some appeals from the Family Court Bureau are handled by our own Appeals Bureau.

 

 

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Fax: 516-572-1957