COVID-19 Crisis Response Efforts
Touro Law Center students, faculty, staff and alumni are once again providing leadership in disaster response as they did after Superstorm Sandy. This time they are helping those in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tom Maligno, Director of ProBono and Executive Director of the William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center at Touro Law, is chairing the Long Island VOAD (Volunteer Agencies Aiding In Disaster) legal committee and coordinating the legal and pro bono resources in the counties. These actions ensure that government and not-for-profit agencies can partner with the legal community to meet the emerging needs of Long Islanders. Every major legal advocacy group on Long Island is a member of this working group. Touro students and alum are doing research on legal issues that arise from these calls and meetings.
With each passing day as more legal problems present themselves, Touro students are volunteering in many ways. Students in Touro’s chapter of the Unemployment Action Center have joined a hotline effort to provide information and representation to those who have recently lost their jobs. One Touro Law student is providing help to New Yorkers in need through LiveHelpNY, an online legal resource that provide guidance about the current state of the New York Courts. Other Touro students are currently providing research in landlord tenant matters, not for profit matters, immigration issues, and family law, among others. Touro Law's Pro Bono Scholars are also doing COVID 19 related research on days when they require work to fulfill their program requirements.
Our alums are providing assistance as well. Andrew VanSingel ’10 is now the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness and has been working tirelessly to ramp up the organized bar's response to the current crisis. He has already contacted Touro on numerous occasions in the past few weeks to help coordinate the national law school effort. Many other alums have volunteered their time and services and Tom Maligno is matching those volunteers with not-for-profits and community members in need. For example, alum Cory Morris ’12 has provided information and advice on consumer matters.
Touro has joined with the Nassau Bar Association COVID 19 Community Task Force. This resource allows community members to call in with questions and be directed to a NCBA who will assist them. These volunteer attorneys will work with Touro and other law students to research responses to the public inquiries.
Touro is also working with the private bar to encourage them to employ students for the summer to assist in pro bono work.
Finally, Touro is the home to numerous not for profit advocacy agencies in our nationally recognized Public Advocacy Center. The staff of these programs are working with Touro students to expand what they do every day all year long -- provide assistance to Long Islanders in distress with legal issues in housing, public benefits, immigration, education, not-for-profit, civil liberties, juvenile justice, family matters and domestic violence.