NY Crime Victims Legal Network

January 2021 | A bi-monthly newsletter for CVLN partners highlighting updates and developments


Good to Know

  • Read our welcome message, past newsletters and blog posts!

  • The next Forum for attorneys and paralegals who are funded through a NYS Office of Victim Services grant award will be held on 2/4/21 from 11am-12:30pm. These forums offer an opportunity for OVS funded legal staff to connect with each other and discuss legal issues faced by crime victims. Please RSVP to Regional Attorney Coordinator, Laura Dwyer at LDwyer@empirejustice.org

  • Earlier this month, over 70 OVS funded advocates and legal staff attended an Open House to learn more about the NY Crime Victims Legal Help website and the Advocate Gateway, and to offer feedback on future design elements. If you missed it, watch the recording and let us know what you think! Contact Project Leader, Remla Parthasarathy at RParthasarathy@empirejustice.org with your thoughts and comments. 

  • In 2020, NY Crime Victims Legal Help was visited over 6,000 times, and people searched for organizations that can offer civil legal assistance over 2,100 times. Are crime victims who are using the Legal Help Directory contacting you? Help us find out. Watch the instructional video to understand how and why collecting this information is essential.  

In Case You Missed It!

More good news for crime victims who are Uber or Lyft drivers. In December, the NY Appellate Division, Third Department, which is responsible to hear all unemployment insurance benefit appeals, ruled in Matter of Lowry that Uber drivers are employees, not independent contractors, eligible to apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits. This solidifies and amplifies the federal ruling by the EDNY in July that Uber and Lyft drivers should be paid unemployment benefits promptly by NY State even when Uber and Lyft failed to provide the necessary income information. By finding that the drivers are “employees”, Uber and Lyft can no longer game the system and can no longer avoid reporting each driver’s wages to the Department of Labor as they had been doing. 


Victims of domestic violence who are unable to report the crime to the police due to COVID-19 related restriction, can still apply for victim compensation by accessing a certified residential program for domestic violence victims. For more information, please see Executive Order 202.43.

What's New?

Tech Tools for Advocates Working Remotely to Increase Productivity

This month, Pro Bono Net's Technology Innovation Manager, Tim Baran, shares tools to use to increase productivity, especially during the pandemic. His two-decade journey working closely with legal services and community-based organizations engages his passion for access to justice and love of community. 

Tim manages initiatives that leverage technology and LawHelpNY’s online resources to expand access to legal assistance for low-income and vulnerable communities and strengthen collaboration within the civil justice sector in New York. 

Click below to read more.


CVLN Tech Corner 

The content in the Know Your Rights section of NY Crime Victims Legal Help is updated as new resources related to COVID-19 are offered. In the Housing section, there is updated information about the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program and the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. Information about the second round of stimulus checks, utility shutoffs, and financial scams related to COVID-19 can be found in the Money and Finances section. Please let your colleagues and crime victims know!

Meet the Team: Ari Rivera


What do you do at LawHelpNY/ Pro Bono Net?

I look to deliver on our program goals, particularly with the NY Crime Victims Legal Help and the LawHelpNY platforms. I focus on adding reliable content to our sites and engage with legal aid organizations and our partners in ensuring their information is up-to-date. I also look ahead at technical and visual ways to practically make our online community more engaging and useful to the advocates who are doing the important work on the ground assisting those in search of legal help.

What motivates you to be active in this work?

I know firsthand that getting legal help is incredibly daunting when you don’t know where or who to go to for assistance, or even that you have the right to do so. I’m motivated to make getting Know Your Rights information and access to a pro bono lawyer as easy as I possibly can for those visiting our sites. 

How can technology help crime victims, advocates & legal professionals?

Technology is helping us break barriers in getting crime victims the help they need, whether it’s legal information now accessible from a smartphone to e-filing platforms to virtual hearings. There is still much to be done; we have to address the lack of access to wi-fi for many, especially in rural areas, and the loss of social supports amidst the current pandemic. That said, strides are being made across the country in using technology to make legal help as accessible as possible, no matter what your financial situation or background may be.

What has been your favorite project to work on thus far?

This isn’t so much a project as an ongoing favorite, but I love working with the Advocate Gateway on NY Crime Victims Legal Help. I’m always excited to ask myself what could be more intuitive about the area for advocates using it and then go through the process of brainstorming with our team on what we can do to make it more logical and visually clean so that the key content, things like our library resources, can stand out.

What is your favorite thing about your job/career?

I love being able to connect with such a diverse community from advocates and attorneys, to law students to program managers; I’m in a position where I can teach others about our work and sites, but also learn so much from them about the direct service work that they do. It is a rich experience, and it’s in these conversations that I am informed to make our online community that much better.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you?

I’ll try a lot of things once, just to take a chance and then I’m kind of reserved the rest of the time! I’ve tried out for a reality show once, ran one marathon, spoken at one conference, published one poem... what to try next?!


Want to stay up-to-date on what we're doing? Join our mailing list!


Are you funded by the NYS Office of Victims Services? Join the Advocate Gateway! 


   NY Crime Victims Legal Network


Help us promote the Network by following our social pages!

Empire Justice Center
1 W Main Street, Suite 200, Rochester, NY 14614 
585-454-4060 | info@empirejustice.org

Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences