Legal Services NYC Attorneys Protest Court Demands Amid COVID
Employees at Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal service provider in the U.S., last Friday picketed to protest unnecessary and dangerous in-person court appearances. Members of the Legal Services Staff Association (a unit of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers/UAW 2320) walked a picket line in front of LSNYC's executive director's building to demand that LSNYC management provide attorneys more exemptions and lean on the judiciary to stop it from mandating that litigants physically come to court for routine appearances in civil matters.
New York City courthouses are cramped, poorly ventilated, not COVID-safe, and overall hazardous for the health of attorneys, their clients, and people living with them to whom they might bring an infection home. In the union's view, the judiciary is being incautious about COVID safety, given the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the success of remote appearances for routine proceedings, and LSNYC is failing its employees by not using its leverage to get the court system to pump the brakes.
"It defies science, it defies safety," said housing attorney Lailah Hanit Pepe, whose son has pulmonary hypertension, putting him at severe risk should he contract COVID-19. "If I'm ever forced to endanger my son after all the sacrifices we've made— It's insane in the middle of increasing cases due to the delta variant." Read more in Law360.