The New York Crime Victims Legal Network is a partnership of organizations working together to better address the civil legal needs of crime victims. The New York Crime Victims Legal Help was developed to make it easier for victims of crime to get legal information and services.
People often have legal needs as a result of being a victim of crime. For many crime victims, the problems they face after a crime can be challenging, especially when they have several legal needs and are unsure where they can go for help. In addition to working with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, a victim may also have non-criminal needs – civil legal needs – that impact the basic necessities in their life, like housing, employment, and safety.
To address this need for comprehensive victim services, in 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime funded six demonstration projects across the country to create models of victim legal assistance networks. The goal of these networks is to offer a wider range of legal assistance that victims need as a result of their victimization.
In 2014, the New York State Office of Victim Services became the recipient of a Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime grant award, and partnered with Empire Justice Center, the Center for Human Services Research at SUNY Albany, and Pro Bono Net to create the New York Crime Victims Legal Network. An advisory committee of attorneys, advocates, crime victims, and providers guide and support the development of the Network.
If you are a survivor of crime, the New York Crime Victims Legal Help is an online resource that connects you with legal help on issues related to your housing, family, employment, finances, and more.
If you have a non-criminal legal problem and live in or have been a victim of crime in any of the counties outside of New York City, New York Crime Victims Legal Help can connect you with legal assistance on issues related to your housing, family, employment, finances, and more. For legal assistance in Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, please contact the New York City Bar Legal Referral Service: nycbar.org or 212-626-7373.
STATEMENT: Empire Justice Center Condemns the Murder of Daniel Prude by Officers of the Rochester Police Department
September 03, 2020
Empire Justice Center condemns the murder of Daniel Prude by officers of the Rochester Police Department.
In this edition of Policy Matters we’ll be sharing our latest legislative and budget updates, advocacy to remove barriers for New Yorkers in need of cash and food assistance, ways to better meet civil legal needs, protections for immigrants’ health, and statements on Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights.
Tomás H. Lucero is a Victims of Crime Advocate (VOCA) Paralegal with the Immigrants & Immigration (II) practice group in the firm's Yonkers Office. He provides intake and legal support to the II practice group, assisting in its efforts to bring justice to immigrant victims of crime. Tomás earned a B.A. in English from the University of San Diego. He has four years of experience in the immigration field; two working with "aliens of extraordinary ability" on EB1 cases and two with victims of crime on U Visas. Before joining Empire Justice Center, Tomás worked at a private law firm in San Diego, California, preparing U Visa and I-130 petitions. Tomás is a native Spanish speaker, professional translator, and trained community interpreter.
Nicole Harris is a staff attorney at the Empire Justice Center in the Yonkers office. She represents crime victims and assists them in filing immigration applications to obtain legal immigration status. Prior to joining Empire Justice, she practiced matrimonial law in the private sector and worked as a senior staff attorney for a non-profit agency representing victims of domestic violence for over 14 years. She is admitted to practice in New York, and is a member of the state Bar Association. She graduated from St. John’s University School of Law and the State University of New York at Albany.
Laura A. Dwyer is a Regional Attorney Coordinator with Empire Justice Center’s Crime Victims Legal Network. She provides technical assistance, legal consultation, and support to attorneys throughout New York who are representing crime victims with their civil legal needs. Prior to joining Empire Justice, she was a Senior Attorney at Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, where she represented crime victims with their civil legal needs. She has practiced in matters involving family law, housing law including foreclosure and landlord/tenant issues, unemployment insurance, public benefits, and special education law. She also has a background in commercial litigation.
Ms. Dwyer graduated from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, where she was a Managing Editor for the Rutgers Law Review. She is admitted to practice in the States of New York and New Jersey. She is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the Northern District of New York, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Dwyer is a member of the New York State Bar Association.
Nicole Lubell, Esq. has dedicated her career to public service, and brings to Empire Justice Center a strong criminal and civil legal practice background. Ms. Lubell serves as the Regional Attorney Coordinator for Empire Justice Center’s Crime Victims Legal Network, a New York State grant-funded project that connects crime victims with civil legal information, resources, and assistance. As Regional Attorney Coordinator, Ms. Lubell provides technical assistance, legal consultation, and support to attorneys across the state who represent crime victims with their civil legal needs.
Before joining Empire Justice Center, Ms. Lubell acted as the Settlement Conference Coordinator for the Nassau County Bar Association’s Mortgage Foreclosure Project. There, she represented Nassau County residents at state-mandated foreclosure settlement conferences, facilitated bi-monthly mortgage foreclosure clinics, recruited, trained and supervised the project’s volunteer attorneys and acted as liaison between the Nassau County Bar Association, court and housing agencies. Earlier in her career, Ms. Lubell served as an Assistant Public Defender, representing indigent clients facing criminal matters from arraignment and motion practice through trial. She later gained civil legal experience as an Assistant City Attorney, where she drafted local legislation and municipal contracts, served as police legal advisor and provided criminal and civil legal counsel to the City Attorney. Ms. Lubell is a published author. Her articles on “zombie” housing and inmate education can be found in The Nassau Lawyer.
Stephanie Woodward is an attorney who is passionate about seeking justice for marginalized communities – and has an arrest record to show for it. As a Crime Victims Attorney at Empire Justice Center, Stephanie provides civil legal assistance to help individuals recover from crimes that they have experienced. Prior to joining Empire Justice, Stephanie served as the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights for five years where she zealously worked for national, state, and local systemic change to advance the rights of people with disabilities. She also worked as a litigator in Miami, Florida where she practiced disability rights law. Stephanie attended Syracuse University College of Law where she earned her J.D. with a certificate in Disability Law and Policy and her M.S.Ed. in Disability Studies. As a proud disabled woman and civil rights activist, Stephanie is committed to making the law work for all oppressed people.
Amy Schwartz-Wallace is a Senior Attorney with the Empire Justice Center in Rochester where she has overseen their Domestic Violence Unit for over a decade. She provides legal training and technical assistance to civil legal services attorneys, domestic violence programs and other agencies and organizations statewide. Amy coordinates a multi-year, statewide grant through the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services where she provides legal training and technical assistance around the intersection of intimate partner violence and LGBT communities. Amy also successfully litigated several impact litigation cases on behalf of victims of intimate partner violence, most notably the Third Department’s 2010 & 2011 decisions in Dickerson v. Thompson which affirmed access to a New York Supreme Court for equitable dissolution of out-of-state civil unions. The Dickerson rulings have since been widely cited in New York, other states, as well as to 2nd Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Amy engages in policy analysis and legislative advocacy, and her advocacy has directly resulted in numerous law, regulation, and policy changes on local, state, and national levels. Amy has also supervised Empire Justice Center’s LGBT Law Project and Crime Victims Legal Network Project since their respective inceptions. From 2006-2008, Amy also served as an Adjunct Law Professor at Syracuse University College of Law where she taught an upper-level course on domestic violence law.
Amy is the author of numerous publications including, Important Identity Change Precedent Created By New York Courts for Domestic Violence Victims and their Children in the compendium VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: VICTIMS AND ABUSERS, LEGAL ISSUES, INTERVENTIONS AND TREATMENT (Joan Zorza, ed., Civic Research Institute 2006) and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REPORT, Volume 9, No. 4 (June/July 2004). With Sharon Stapel, she co-authored the chapter, Public Assistance and Housing: Helping Survivors Navigate Difficult Systems in the First Department’s LAWYER’S MANUAL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: REPRESENTING THE VICTIM (2015 ed,, 2006 and 2004 eds.). With state agency, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Amy co-authored their 2013 GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNITY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE POLICY. This multi-disciplinary statewide tool assists communities with creating and updating comprehensive, responsive policies for cases involving domestic violence.
Amy is a proud recipient of several awards recognizing her legal work. In 2015, she was the first recipient of the Ally Windsor Howell Champion of Diversity Award given by the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. She was also the first recipient of RESOLVE’s 2014 Resolutionary Award, recognizing those who demonstrate vision, leadership and determination toward ending and preventing violence against women in our community. In addition, Amy also had the honor of being recognized with the Up and Coming Attorney Award by the DAILY RECORD legal newspaper in 2007, as well as their Leaders in Law Award in 2010.
Among her many community activities, Amy serves on the Board of Trustees for the Monroe County Bar Association (MCBA) and is a former President of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA). In 2014, she helped to found, and is now currently a member of, the MCBA’s LGBT Committee. She is also a member of Women’s Bar Association of New York’s new LGBT Committee. Amy served as Statewide Co-Chair of WBASNY’s Domestic Violence Committee (2005-2008, 2011-2015) and their Access to Justice Committee (2010-2011). She also co-founded the Domestic Violence Committee for the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys in 2003 and has served as its co-chair for many years.
Amy Schwartz-Wallace received her Bachelor of Arts from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and her law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.
Remla Parthasarathy is the Project Leader of the Crime Victims Legal Network, a federally-funded partnership between the New York State Office of Victim Services, the Empire Justice Center, Pro Bono Net, and the Center for Human Services Research at the State University of New York at Albany. The goal of the Project is to connect victims of crime with the civil legal services they need through the development of new technology solutions. The Network is expected to be operational in late 2018.
Since graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, Remla has worked in a variety of capacities primarily in the field of intimate partner violence. She served as an attorney representing domestic violence victims in Family Court, a systems advocate for a domestic violence shelter and county-wide coalition, a coordinator of a misdemeanor domestic violence court, a coordinator of a safe-home network, and a Domestic Violence in the Workplace Educator. Prior to joining Empire Justice, Remla worked for ten years as the Clinical Instructor for the Women, Children, and Social Justice Clinic at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. There, she supervised and taught students placed in agencies that work in the areas of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking, and provided assistance to coalitions and task forces in the Western New York area to enhance their communities' response to intimate partner violence. She also teaches as an adjunct professor, and works as a consultant and trainer.
Remla has presented workshops at several national and state-wide conferences. She has served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the International Institute of Buffalo, the YWCA of Western New York, and the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence. She is a recipient of the Sr. Karen Klimczack Peace and Justice Award from the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence, and the Trailblazer Award from the SUNY Buffalo Law School Students of Color Committee.
Welcome to the November edition of our newsletter, Policy Matters. In this edition we cover looming judiciary budget cuts, more info on redlining and neighborhood health, a budget highlight on the Community Health Program (CHA), a new project serving low income families in Rochester, and a well-earned recognition for an attorney emeritus.
Welcome to the October edition of our newsletter, Policy Matters. In this edition we reveal the connections between redlining and COVID-19, how access to justice means access to food and housing, ways to protect the voting rights of survivors of domestic violence, and how law school clinics may be a key part of New York’s recovery from the pandemic.