Published in Spot On Magazine
Christine Malafi, partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP, was appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti, to the New York State Pro Bono Scholars Task Force. Gail Prudenti will be spearheading the task force, and Senior Associate Judge Victoria A. Graffeo will be heading the Advisory Committee. This program, created by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman was put in place to confront the crisis in our country in delivering legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.
The goal of the task force is to assist the State and all of its law schools in identifying pro bono placement programs and securing their availability to law school students. The Pro Bono Scholars Program was the focus of Chief Judge Lippman’s State of the Judiciary Address given on Feb. 11, 2014. “It’s an honor to be a part of this Task Force and I look forward to working with the judiciary and fellow task force members.” said Christine Malafi about her recent board placement within the program. In January 2004, she was appointed Suffolk County Attorney, as the first woman and youngest person ever appointed to the position. In that position for eight years, Christine was the chief legal officer of the County, supervising a legal team of over sixty-five attorneys in the Suffolk County Department of Law. Malafi’s list of accomplishments does not end there, she also taught both undergraduate and law classes at Long Island University, C.W. Post and Touro Law Center.
The Pro bono Scholars Task Force will give law students the opportunity to dedicate their last semester of law school to providing pro bono services to the poor. The students will receive credit towards their degree for their work, and will remain part of their law school’s educational stewardship while simultaneously gaining practical experience in their field of work, and learning vital practical skills.
The Board of Law Examiners has already approved the Pro Bono Scholars Program. The option of participating in this initiative will be offered to all of New York’s 15 law schools, as well as other schools that wish to participate.
Additional members of the board of the Pro Bono Scholars Program include David Schraver, President of the NYS Bar Association, Carey Dunne, President of the NYC Bar Association, as well as many other local bar association who are working closely with Judge Lippman and Prudenti in this effort. The long-term goals of this program are to give all prospective New York bar law applicants the opportunity to enroll in the program, and devote one-sixth of their law school education to pro bono work for the less fortunate. The hope is to extend the program around the country to offer these services to our most vulnerable citizens, and in turn ushering a new era in the legal profession. This reform in legal education is the start of a new way of revitalizing the law system and adapting it to our society’s ever changing needs.