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Access to Justice Incubator Announces Inaugural Fellows

The Hofstra Law Access to Justice Incubator recently announced the hiring of alumnae Siobhan Klassen ’13, as the inaugural Forchelli Curto Fellow, and Erin M. Ross ’13, as the inaugural Certilman Balin Fellow.

The fellows are overseen by Lisa M. Petrocelli, Esq. ’94, executive director and managing attorney for the Incubator, and are being trained to provide the full spectrum of representation for clients as they refine their skills of reflective practice.

“What attracted me to the fellowship was being able to hone my skills through truly helping those in the community that are often underrepresented,” said Klassen. “I am really looking forward to understanding and protecting the rights of tenants, particularly low-income tenants.”

“I joined the Incubator because I saw it as a unique opportunity to strengthen my skills as a legal advocate while simultaneously having a direct impact on the lives of those in need,” said Ross. “As a fellow, I am looking forward to providing a voice for those most vulnerable to abuse and victimization.”

The fellows are scheduled to tour various courthouses and agencies in Nassau County and to meet with both judicial and nonjudicial personnel so that they will become familiar with all types of proceedings conducted in our jurisdiction. They will also be shadowing experienced volunteer attorneys so that they may be properly trained to provide pro bono civil legal services to the underserved populations in certain court proceedings and clinic events, including foreclosure and landlord/tenant actions.

The fellows have attended committee meetings and observed a foreclosure/disaster relief clinic at the Nassau County Bar Association, and are scheduled to attend a full-day training program to become individually eligible to serve as guardian, court evaluator and attorney for alleged incapacitated persons pursuant to Part 36 of the Rules of the Chief Judge of the State of New York.

The Incubator will start to receive court appointments to serve as court evaluator in MHL Article 81 guardianship proceedings commenced in Nassau County Supreme Court.

About the Incubator

The Hofstra Law Access to Justice Incubator is a nonprofit entity formed with the assistance of the New York State Unified Court System and the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services established by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in 2010. Similar to the Task Force, the Incubator’s dual mission is to fill a critical gap in access to civil legal services for low- and moderate-income individuals, and to promote a culture of service in the legal profession. The Incubator works in consultation with the local bench and bar to identify critical areas of need for civil legal services in Nassau County.