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DIY Forms


DIY Star Award Recipient
October 2011


 New York County Civil Court Clerk's Office Staff


Congratulations to the NY County Civil Court, DIY Stars!

(L-R) Rochelle Klempner, Carol Alt, Judge Peter Moulton, Alia Razzaq, Frank Tropea, Judge Fern Fisher, Eddy Valdez, Lydia Grima, David Siegel, Antonella Tropea, Peter Catella, Joe Minogue, Geoffrey Jacoby and James Lopez


The New York County Civil Court Civil Clerk's Office staff received the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program's DIY Star Award for assisting unrepresented litigants with the Adult and Minor Name Change Petition DIY programs and the Consumer Debt Affidavit DIY program. This is the first Civil Court in the City of New York to receive the prized DIY Star Award!

On October 4, 2011, an award ceremony was held at the New York County Civil Court located in lower Manhattan. NYS Courts Access to Justice Program Director/Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for NYC Courts Fern A. Fisher, Civil Court New York County Supervising Judge Peter H. Moulton, NYC Civil Court Chief Clerk Carol Alt, Clerk of New York County Lydia Grima, and NYS Courts Access to Justice Program Chief Counsel Rochelle Klempner, all spoke about the staff's outstanding efforts furthering equal access to justice for unrepresented litigants. Judge Fisher, who was a Civil Court Judge for many years and the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court for over a decade, expressed how pleased she was to present the DIY Star Award to Civil Court personnel, who she believes are some of the most public service oriented employees in the State.

The New York County Civil Clerk's Office DIY Staff Stars include: Supervisor, Assistant Deputy Chief Clerk Peter Catella, Joe Minogue, Antonella Tropea, James Lopez, Geoffrey Jacoby, Peter DiGenova, David Siegel, Melanie Martinez, Ed Hernandez, William Laxina, Margaret Graf, Karen Topey, Melissa Rizzo, Jasmine Crooks, and Jamal Thompson. Special thanks goes to Antonella Tropea for her assistance with the programs over the past two years, including her presentation at the Judicial Institute DIY Form training in May 2009. The New York County Civil Clerk's Office staff are DIY stars because of their dedication to assisting unrepresented litigants.

Beauty, Brain and Brawn aka Peter Catella, Antonella Tropea and Joe Minogue

Peter Catella, Antonella Tropea and Joe Minogue, or the Beauty, Brain and Brawn, as Lydia Grima refers to them.

From April 1 - June 30, 2011, Civil Court staff recorded 715 unrepresented litigant Consumer Debt Affidavit, Adult Name Change and Minor Name Change DIY filings in UCMS, out of 1031 total litigant filings. Accordingly, 69% of these filings types were created by litigants using the DIY Form programs. The majority of the litigants created their court papers on public access DIY terminals located in the Civil Clerk's Office. This represents a 255% increase over the filing period from January 1 - March 31, 2011. The implementation of the DIY Form Initiative and overall improvement in how litigants without attorneys are assisted, is due to the outstanding efforts of Civil Court's Chief Clerk Carol Alt, 1st Deputy Chief Clerk Alia Razzaq, Deputy Chief Clerk Eddy Valdez, Deputy Chief Clerk Frank Tropea, NY County Clerk Lydia Grima and the Civil Clerk's Office DIY Stars.

In addition, in the second quarter of 2011, New York County Civil Court staff returned 192 Adult Name Change, 68 Minor Name Change and 93 Consumer Debt Affidavit User Surveys completed by unrepresented litigants. Many of the comments in the Surveys acknowledge the wonderful assistance they received from court staff. A sample of the comments can be read below.

Lydia Grima and Judge Fern Fisher

Lydia Grima and Judge Fern Fisher




View the photo gallery of the awards presentation.




Read a sampling of what litigants had to say about their DIY experience in the New York County Civil Clerk's Office

"Every court clerk was very helpful and kind, excellent service!!!" - Consumer Debt Affidavit Program, September 16, 2011.

"Mr. Phillip was fantastic!" - Minor Name Change Program, September 15, 2011.

"Your court clerks were extremely helpful." - Consumer Debt Affidavit Program, September 15, 2011.

"I was confused and was glad to have help from the staff." - Adult Name Change Program, September 1, 2011.

"The whole process of changing my name was a positive experience. The clerk, employees were very helpful and informative." - Adult Name Change Program, August 26, 2011.

"The court clerks are very helpful, I appreciate their help and very grateful." - Consumer Debt Program, August 10, 2011.

"I had a very nice gentleman, Mr. James Lopez who assisted me." - Consumer Debt Program, August 3, 2011.

"Phillip was great, William was friendly and very helpful. Both were extremely helpful." - Consumer Debt Program, July 29, 2011.

"The Clerk I worked with was extremely professional and very helpful." - Adult Name Change Program, July 18, 2011.

"The staff was extremely helpful, courteous, professional, knowledgeable and friendly. I felt at ease and affirmed going through the process." - NYC Adult Name Change, July 13, 2011.

"Service is much faster that five years ago and so are the employees." - Adult Name Change Program, July 13, 2011.

"Very professional and very helpful." - Consumer Debt Program, July 8, 2011.

"The court clerk was incredibly pleasant and helpful." - Adult Name Change Program, July 5, 2011.

"I was really happy with the service." - Adult Name Change Program, June 8, 2011.

"Very professional court employees, very helpful." - Adult Name Change Program, June 7, 2011.

"Everyone was helpful for a first time user." - Adult Name Change Program, June 6, 2011

"Both the internet program and the employees were very efficient and helpful." - NYC Adult Name Change Program, June 6, 2011.

"It was nice to speak with somebody personally." - Adult Name Change Program, June 2, 2011.

"Very efficient clerk." - Adult Name Change Program, June 1, 2011.

"I really appreciated the help from the court employee. This service is time saving and simple." - Minor Name Change Program, May 31, 2011.

"It was easy to use and the help from staff was very helpful." - Minor Name Change Program, May 24, 2011.

"The court employee was very clear when explaining the system."- NYC Adult Name Change Program, May 13, 2011.

"The employee help was excellent" - Consumer Debt Program, May 12, 2011.

"The clerk was extremely helpful." - Adult Name Change Program, May 5, 2011.

"Mr Jacoby helped me through this process. What a patient, helpful gentleman. Thanks for having him on your staff. Thank you for this common sense and time saving system. God bless you!" - Adult Name Change Program, May 2, 2011.

"I really like seeing the court clerks they are very kind and helpful. Specially the gentlemen on window 9 and 10, they are very helpful." - Consumer Debt Program, April 22, 2011.

"The court employee help me and he was very pleasant; Mr. Jamal." - Consumer Debt Program, April 15, 2011.

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