BROOKLYN TENANT ATTORNEYS FORM NEW BAR ASSOCIATION

Brooklyn, NY, January 19, 2012—Over 60 tenant-side housing attorneys in Brooklyn have joined together to form The Brooklyn Tenant Lawyers Network (“BTLN”). The mission of the BTLN is to strengthen the voice and influence of the tenant-side bar and foster the effective provision of high quality legal representation to tenants in Brooklyn. The BTLN will provide a forum for tenant-side attorneys to discuss and develop strategies for improving the administration of justice in the Brooklyn Housing Court.

 


Press coverage: NY Daily News, Thompson Reuters

 


Membership in the BTLN is limited to attorneys who only represent tenants, and not landlords, in Brooklyn Housing Court. The BTLN therefore provides a counterpoint to the Kings County Housing Court Bar Association (“KCHCBA”). That group, while ostensibly open to the landlord- and tenant-side bars, is dominated by landlord-side attorneys. That dynamic is reflected in Housing Court itself, where only 15% or less of tenants are represented by attorneys, whereas nearly all landlords are represented by counsel.

Through their organization, landlord-side attorneys have enjoyed access to Brooklyn Housing Court judges and personnel, and have had a forum in which their concerns are addressed. With the formation of the BTLN, the tenant-side bar calls for equal access to judges and personnel and hopes to foster productive working relationships within the court system.  Through these relationships, it is anticipated that issues unique to the tenant-side bar as well as those shared with the landlords’ bar and the Brooklyn Housing Court administration can be addressed.

Among the concerns of the BTLN that it will seek to have addressed are: the insufficiency of the Brooklyn Housing Court facility, inadequate access to justice in Housing Court for unrepresented tenant litigants, and the culture of disrespect which pervades interactions throughout the courthouse.

The BTLN comprises attorneys from the private bar, including the firms of Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph; and Fishman & Mallon LLP; and the following legal services organizations: Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services; Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. A; Bushwick Housing Legal Assistance; CAMBA Legal Services; DC37 Municipal Employee Legal Services; Housing Works; The Legal Aid Society Brooklyn Neighborhood Office; The Legal Aid Society Brooklyn Office for the Aging; Legal Services NYC – Brooklyn Branch; Make the Road New York; New York Legal Assistance Group; and South Brooklyn Legal Services Inc.

For further information, please contact one of the officers of the organization: Karen Bacdayan, Esq. (347) 592-2108; Diane Lutwak, Esq. (718) 260-4707; Kim Skadan, Esq. (718) 260-4702; or Michael Weisberg, Esq. (718) 237-5531.

 


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