On June 9, Steven Banks '81 and Michael Rothenberg '91 were selected to join the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York. The task force, announced in May by Jonathan Lippman '68, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, was established as part of Lippman’s goal of ensuring that poor people in civil cases have access to lawyers. Lippman will begin by holding hearings in New York to determine the unmet need in the state; the task force will use information gathered at the hearings to help further the effort to increase access to lawyers. Banks and Rothenberg will work with Helaine Barnett '64, the former president of the Legal Services Corporation, who Lippman selected to chair the task force.

Banks, who is attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society, has devoted his career to the public interest. He currently oversees the Legal Aid Society’s entire staff of attorneys, a group that handles over 200,000 cases each year. Rothenberg is executive director of New York Lawyers for Public Interest, and previously worked with the Citizens Jury Project, a project of the Vera Institute of Justice, the Rockefeller Family Fund, and Brooklyn Legal Services.

Posted June 11, 2010