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If you would like to post your own testimonial about your experience as a Guardian Ad Litem email

Posted: September, 2015

By: Jimmy Lathrop, Esq.

“One of my first appointments as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Brooklyn housing court. I was appointed as guardian of a woman who was 102 years old and was being evicted from her home in Bath Beach. She was being taken care of by her son who was in his early 60s, who was also taking care of his brother who was in his late 50s and had Down syndrome.

I went to visit them in their home and the caretaking son was completely overwhelmed. He showed me a wall of charcoal drawings that he had made of Christ. They were breathtaking in their ability. He confided in me that if he didn't have his brother and mother to take care of that he would have been an illustrator.

It was a humbling moment as I put on my best game face, I assured him that I would do everything in my power to help him and his family out. When I left the apartment, I couldn't make it to my car, I had to lean against the tree to take in all of that responsibility. It was a very sobering event, and one of the first tastes of the awesome responsibility to be able to assist people in need. ”

Posted October, 2013

By: Craig Zim, Esq.

“I do enjoy helping people and never waiver and take any case when asked no matter how difficult. It's a rewarding feeling helping so many people. In fact, so many come to Court each year during Thanksgiving just to pass by and say thanks. It makes me feel so good and is fulfilling.”

Posted October, 2013

By: Ita Fink, Esq.

“One of the best parts of serving as a GAL is realizing the value of our work. Not all cases are equally rewarding...but when actions you have taken make the difference between homelessness and longevity in familiar surroundings, your efforts have paid off.
Because each case has a wide variety of fact patterns, each case poses new challenges. The learning curve is enormous. I have come to see how the charitable, social service agencies and legal service providers I interact with have been useful in my non-gal endeavors.”

Posted October, 2013

By: Family member of tenant for whom a GAL was appointed

“I want to bring to your attention the excellent work which Mr. [P] recently completed as a Guardian Ad Litem for my uncle, [JS], in a complicated and difficult case. Mr. [P] is a true professional who was sensitive to the needs of my uncle as he worked to resolve the long standing dispute in a very fair & equitable way. His legal skills are exceptional, but what makes him an outstanding is his personal commitment & caring approach.”

Posted October, 2013

By: Social Work Supervisor Outside Agency

“I am writing this letter to commend the work of Mr. [M], the court appointed Guardian Ad Litem for this case... I have worked hand in hand with Mr. [M] for the last several months on the difficult case and he has shown himself to be a wonderful and skilled advocate who was able to help solve the problem and ultimately help find a suitable apartment for this woman and her family who were about to be evicted...”

Posted: April 23, 2013

By: Robert Peters, Esq.

"My journey to the VLFDHousing program began long ago – in 1975-1976 to be exact, when I spent a full year following graduation from law school representing tenants in nonpayment proceedings in the Manhattan Housing Court. I enjoyed working in the housing court back then, and to this day I am thankful for the experience. I am now in the midst of a later-in-life career transition – from working more than 27 years as an attorney and executive for a nonprofit organization that fights pornography to an attorney in private practice.

One area of law that I was interested in from day one of this transition was landlord-tenant law, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I was delighted to discover that the NYC Housing Courts appoint their own Guardians Ad Litem. This, I thought, is for me! But having spent most of my professional life working as an in-house attorney who didn't represent clients in court, I knew I would again need to become comfortable working in the Housing Courts if I were to become a capable GAL. I was therefore delighted to discover a program that would allow me to represent tenants on a pro bono basis. This, I thought, is what I need; and it was.

As I write this testimony, I have been serving as a Volunteer Lawyer for the Day for going on six months; and I am happy to report that when I recently received my first appointment as a Housing Court GAL I had no trepidation about speaking to a landlord attorney or about standing before a Housing Court judge. And when I sat down to look through the court file, it was a breeze.

I have taken a number of CLE courses relating to landlord-tenant law and guardianship law (both GAL and Article 81), and I intend to take more because there is a place for "book learning." But there is also a place for "doing the work," and the VLFDHousing program is a great way to be a doer of the work if a person wants to be a Housing Court GAL.

I would add that at this point in my life my goal is to earn a modest income while doing good in the process. I don't anticipate that serving as a Housing Court GAL will meet the full need for even a modest income, but if I fulfill my responsibilities as a GAL, I can do good."


Posted January 25, 2012

By: Della DeKay, Esq.

“I became a GAL because I wanted to practice law. I remain a GAL because it is the most challenging, frustrating and rewarding job I can imagine. Each case is unique and you must think “outside the box.” Sixty percent of my cases are pro bono which require you to be both a social worker and an attorney. To help your wards, you must use your ingenuity and problem solving skills. There is no way to characterize a case... But, no matter what you do, after every case you know that you have helped someone...”

Posted January 25, 2012

By: Thomas Giles

“A senior citizen whose case I was appointed to in 2009 (her case was settled last year), just called to thank me again, wish me a happy holiday, and tell me that as she looked around her living room now decorated for the holidays, she thanked God once again for the help I gave her in saving her apartment. I was so moved... This is why I continue to work as a GAL.”