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Rochelle Klempner, Esq.

Rochelle Klempner, Chief Counsel of NYS Court Access to Justice Program

Rochelle Klempner is an attorney for the New York State Court System’s Office for Justice Initiatives. She was admitted to the bar in New York and Connecticut in 1987. Prior to joining the court system, Ms. Klempner worked in a law firm specializing in tenant representation. In 1991, she became a court attorney in the NYC Civil Court, where she worked on both Civil and Criminal Court cases. In 1993, she moved to the Supreme Court, working as a court attorney for Justice Fern A. Fisher in both the City and Matrimonial Parts. In 1996, Justice Fisher was appointed the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court and Ms. Klempner continued to work for Justice Fisher as her court attorney until 2009 with her primary focus on increasing access to justice for Civil Court litigants. Ms. Klempner became proficient in mediation, plain language writing, website UX design, and A2J Author and Hot Docs document assembly software. Her chief accomplishments include creating, maintaining and co-writing the content for the Civil Court's tri-lingual Civil, Housing and Small Claims websites; the co-creation of several civil and housing document assembly programs known as DIY Forms to assist unrepresented litigants in the creation of their court papers; and her work on the Court's first unbundled Volunteer Lawyer for the Day pilot project to assist tenants in Housing Court. Other select accomplishments include the creation of the court's shared drive and archive drive; simplification of court forms and making them accessible on-line; authorship or co-authorship of numerous self-help publications and resources; frequent staff training programs; and volunteer lawyer ethics training. In 2009, her work on the Civil Court's trilingual website and document assembly programs won her the Botein Medal for outstanding contribution to the administration of the courts.

From 2009 to 2017, Ms. Klempner served as Chief Counsel to the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program where she worked tirelessly advocating on behalf of the nearly two million New Yorkers who navigate the state courts each year without legal representation. Ms. Klempner was primarily responsible for overseeing the program’s self-help projects and resources; technology-based tools; budget and contracts; annual reports; NYS Courts Access to Justice Program website; social media; and the mentoring of attorney staff. Her main accomplishments included: total overhaul, design, maintenance and co-authorship of content on the CourtHelp website for unrepresented litigants; co-creation of several statewide DIY Form programs; and designing and authoring content for the court system's e-filing website for unrepresented litigants. In 2017, the Access to Justice Program was subsumed by the Office for Justice Initiatives. Ms. Klempner serves on three working groups within the Self-Represented Litigation Network: Forms and Technology; Simplification; and Administrative Office of the Courts, which she chairs. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of the NY Crime Victims Legal Network Project. She is a frequent presenter to court staff and the public on unbundled legal services, document assembly, web development, online tools, e-filing and other access to justice related topics. Ms. Klempner has authored and contributed to numerous plain language self-help resources, law review articles and Best Practices Guides. See a selected list of Ms. Klempner's professional presentations and publications. In 2017, Ms. Klempner received Hofstra Law School’s Outstanding Women in Law Award.

Rochelle Klempner received her BA from Binghamton University and her JD from Hofstra Law School.

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