For Immediate Release
Anne Erickson (518) 588-9729
Kristi Hughes (585) 295-5817
Two non-profit law firms create Empire Justice Center
Greater Upstate Law Project,
Public Interest Law Office of
focus on improving public services and legal protections for those who are poor, disabled
ROCHESTER, ALBANY, WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 9, 2005 — Two leading non-profit law firms officially joined today to form the Empire Justice Center – creating one of the most comprehensive and experienced advocacy organizations working for legal equity in New York State.
Upstate Law Project (GULP) and Public Interest Law Office of Rochester (PILOR)
merged internally on
organization combines GULP’s expertise in health
care, public benefits, disability, housing, domestic violence and immigration
law with PILOR’s strengths in consumer law, predatory
lending, disability law, civil rights and special education. The new
organization brings together 12 staff members and 20 attorneys in three
Erickson served as President and CEO of GULP — founded in 1973 to provide technical assistance and support to the legal services community across the state. GULP was a statewide informational clearinghouse, engaged in legislative and administrative advocacy and undertook major litigation in the often-complex areas of poverty law.
Hetherington was Chief Counsel of PILOR — a non-profit law firm that since 1996 has provided free, civil legal services to low-income people in the Greater Rochester area and has engaged in major litigation with statewide impact.
René H. Reixach, a partner in the Health Care Practice Group of
Woods Oviatt Gilman in
leadership role the agencies have played in advocating for greater access to
the Greater Upstate Law Project and the Public Interest Law Office of Rochester
for their continued dedication to making sure that all New Yorkers have equal
access to our justice system and the judicial process,” noted State Senator
John A. DeFrancisco, Chair of the Senate Judiciary
Committee. “I congratulate them on their new partnership and I look
forward to working with the
excited about our new name and identity, which more clearly define our mission
and services and will, ultimately, help raise awareness of what we do for
Over the past year, the Board and staff have worked to clarify and reinforce the core principles of the agency.
“We are proud to reaffirm our mission to protect and strengthen the legal rights of those in need by engaging in systems change advocacy, providing training and support to other advocates and organizations, and offering high quality direct civil legal representation both in individual cases and in significant class actions.” said Hetherington.
is a statewide leader in ensuring access to justice for all New Yorkers,” said Reixach, chairman of the
Visit http://www.empirejustice.org/ for more information, including staff and board listings and background information.
Cliff Perez M.S.W.
Broadway & 4th St.
Troy, NY 12180