The New York Bar Foundation recently presented a grant of $2320.00 to Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.  The grant will be used to support their Educational Form Memo Translation Project.

This grant will allow Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York (PLS) to translate vital legal information for incarcerated individuals from English to Spanish. PLS receives over 10,000 requests for assistance from incarcerated New Yorkers every year. To ensure that we answer every single letter we have created over 75 educational form memos that provide helpful advice on a myriad of issues including parole, medical and mental health care, criminal appeals, visitation, transfers, disciplinary hearings, excessive use of force, rights of incarcerated parents, failure to protect claims and transfers. Our educational form memos help incarcerated individuals navigate the complex prison and court system and are a critical component to ensuring that justice is done behind prison walls. As of January 1, 2017 there were 12,349 Hispanic individuals in the custody of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Well over half of those individuals are Spanish-language-dominant. As such, having the resources to translate some of these memos into Spanish will significantly benefit a large segment of the incarcerated population.  

Foundation grants assist non-profit organizations with essentials-of-life issues such as child support, consumer debt, housing, access to health care and education, and family matters such as domestic violence and family stability.  

“The New York Bar Foundation has allocated nearly $700,000 in grants to more than 85 programs across New York significantly increasing the total dollar amount of grants over the past several years,” said Lucia Whisenand, chair of the Grant Review Committee.  “The issues we touch on are extensive and impact people in life changing ways.” 

By raising awareness of the need for access to civil legal services and allocating resources to help meet these needs, the Foundation will help make access to justice a reality for New Yorkers and, thereby, enhance the understanding of and respect for the rule of law.  

“Through our grant-making program we help improve access to justice by providing seed grants to innovative legal projects piloting new ways to help those in need,” adds June Castellano, Vice-chair of the Grant Review Committee.  “When you give to the Foundation you help make a difference across New York State.” 

The New York Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the charitable arm of the New York State Bar Association.  Established in 1950, the Foundation is dedicated to aiding charitable and educational projects to meet the law-related needs of the public and the legal profession. To learn more about the Foundation and how you can support its programs, go to www.tnybf.org or email Deborah Auspelmyer dauspelmyer@tnybf.org


In February 2016, the New York Bar Foundation (NYBF) awarded PLS a grant to hire law students as Immigration Fellows to work at PLS in our Immigration Unit. The project will fund law students to work at PLS to provide representation to detained immigrants in removal proceedings. These fellowships will provide students with on-the-job training in analyzing the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and representing immigrants in removal proceedings. 

This fellowship will also help attract law students throughout New York State interested in pursuing immigration or public defense work and allow them to spend either the summer of their 2L year (full-time) or an entire academic year (part-time) immersed in immigration work. This experience will ensure that each participating fellow will become well-versed in this very technical and developing field of law. Thank you to the NYBF for helping PLS provide critical immigration legal services to incarcerated New Yorkers!  

To read about our first immigration fellow click: Deokhee Ryu.

To read our Press Release about this grant click: NYBF Immigration Fellow Grant Press Release.pdf

For FY 2017, the NYBF again awarded PLS a grant to employ law students as Immigration Fellows to work in PLS' Immigration Unit. Thanks to the generosity of the NYBF, during the summer of 2017, Claudia Cadenillas and Nadia Alirahi  were able to work in PLS' Immigration Unit in Albany, New York. In December 2017, Mary Slattery, a 3L at Northeastern University School of Law, joined PLS' Immigration Unit as a NYBF Fellow. 

For FY 2018, the NYBF again awarded PLS a grant to employ law students as Immigration Fellows to work in PLS' Immigration Unit. Thanks to the generosity of the NYBF, during the summer of 2018, Jessica Ventura worked in PLS' Immigration Unit in Albany, New York. Click here Jessica Ventura Letter to NYBF to read a letter Jessica wrote about her experience working as a NYBF Immigration Fellow.