27 Focused on What Matters Thirty minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but to the people who come to the NewYork City Family Court for free consultations with volunteer attorneys, it can mean overcoming challenges that seemed insurmountable just a half hour earlier. A father of five who doesn’t know where to find his wife and three of his children leaves the court with a plan for where to start looking for them. A mother, terrified for the safety of her children and herself, leaves reassured that she can take legal action to keep her children, and stay safe. “Sometimes the whole day is heartbreaking,”says attorney Kim Gold, who has participated in the New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program since 2010 and has coordinated Mintz Levin’s involvement since joining the firm in April 2012. “But you’re seeing the direct benefits of your legal advice right then and there. It’s great to be able to use my experience to help people.” Every month, attorneys from Mintz Levin volunteer at Family Court, rotating between the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan and taking anywhere from 10 to 20 cases per session. Mintz Levin is one of the 35 law firms and corporations that participate in the program. In addition to Kim, the firm’s volunteer attorneys include Christophe Difo, Liz Kurpis, Terry McMahon, Rob Rosen, Todd Rosenbaum, and John Sefick. The New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program started in 2006 and provides free consultations to low-income individuals on matters involving child support, paternity, visitation, custody, family offense, and guardianship. Since the downturn in the economy in 2009, the demand for free consultations has risen. “Most people can be helped within 30 minutes,”Kim says.“People come in after receiving a notice about a court appearance or child support, for example, and they don’t know what to say or do. We guide them or tell them how to best present the case in court,”she says. “It’s nice to give people reassurance in very difficult circumstances and on very private matters,” Rob adds. “They might not know how to address a legal problem they’re facing. Giving them advice can give them peace of mind.“ Although the time commitment of each individual attorney is modest, the impact is great. Angela Britton Court Attorney New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program A Little Time Goes a Long Way Providing Legal Advice on Family Matters