Applications Being Accepted for Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship
Fellow Will Focus On High Priority Legal Concerns of Low-Income People
ROCHESTER, New York (August 25, 2021) – Empire Justice Center is currently accepting applications for The Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship, a two-year post graduate legal fellowship that was established in memory of Hanna S. Cohn, who served as the Executive Director of Volunteer Legal Services Project (now known as Just Cause) for twenty years. Former U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca characterized Hanna as a “drum major for justice… who devoted her life to those in need.”
The goal of this prestigious Fellowship is to increase legal advocacy for Greater Rochester’s low-income families in high priority areas that are currently underserved. The Fellowship will be awarded to a dynamic and talented new lawyer beginning a career in the practice of poverty law.
The Fellow will be placed at the Empire Justice Center in Rochester, NY and will represent low-income clients in complex areas of law through litigation, policy and systems change advocacy. The Fellow’s background and interests will be matched with high priority legal concerns of low-income individuals that are not currently being addressed or that require additional resources.
The application deadline is October 29, 2021. The Fellow will be notified in January, 2022 and will begin work in September, 2022. Applications can be downloaded from Empire Justice Center’s website; applications can also be submitted online.
Issue areas addressed by past Cohn Fellows include: the legal rights of LGBT individuals, wage theft, consumer law and fair credit reporting, legal issues regarding clients with limited English proficiency, access to health care and on serving Monroe County’s deaf and hard-of-hearing population.
The Fellowship is made possible by Hanna Cohn’s family, through private donations to the Hanna S. Cohn Memorial Fund, and by a contribution from the Campaign for Justice, an annual fund drive that Hanna established to support the work of Just Cause, the Legal Aid Society and Legal Assistance of Western New York.
Jerry Wein, who was Hanna’s husband notes, “In creating the Cohn Fellowship our family’s vision was not to replace Hanna, but to recognize her journey by opening a door for a new lawyer–as one was opened for her. We hoped to provide an opportunity, within a supportive legal community, for a lawyer entering the profession to build on their values and skills, and help fashion a world where the phrase “equal justice” has real meaning. Thanks to the accomplishments of a remarkable group of Fellows, Empire Justice, the Campaign for Justice, the many friends who continue to contribute to the Hanna S. Cohn Memorial Fund, our vision is reality.”
“We are honored to have the opportunity to build upon Hanna’s legacy in Rochester by bringing bright new lawyers to Rochester to practice with our attorneys and learn firsthand how impactful systems change advocacy and poverty law can be”, said Kristin Brown, President & CEO of Empire Justice Center. “I want to personally thank Jerry, the Cohn family and the many contributors to this effort for creating this important program that has touched so many lives and launched incredible careers for former fellows.”
Empire Justice Center’s mission is to make the law work for all New Yorkers, but especially for those who need its protection most. For more than 35 years, our staff has protected and strengthened the legal rights of people in New York who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised. This is accomplished through three major and interconnected areas of service: providing training, support and technical assistance to legal services and other community-based organizations; offering direct legal assistance and undertaking impact litigation; and engaging in policy analysis, research and advocacy. Empire Justice has offices in Albany, Rochester, White Plains, Yonkers and on Long Island. To find out more, please visit www.empirejustice.org
Kristi Hughes, Vice President for Development and Administration
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Empire Justice Center is a statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy, public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low-income families live. Empire Justice protects and strengthens the legal rights of people in New York State who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised through: systems change advocacy, training and support to other advocates and organizations, and high quality direct civil legal representation. Empire Justice has offices in Albany, Rochester, Yonkers, White Plains and Central Islip on Long Island.