Beth Goldman and Randal Jeffrey.

NYLAG’s Beth Goldman, left, with Randal Jeffrey, right.

Randal Jeffrey has received a Public Service Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) in recognition of his distinguished career as a public-service attorney. During his 17 years with NYLAG, Jeffrey has spearheaded innovative service delivery models that have been uniquely effective in addressing the rapidly expanding and changing legal needs of low-income New Yorkers. Jeffrey is the Director of NYLAG’s General Legal Services (GLS) unit, which has experienced substantial growth under his leadership, and handles over 13,500 cases annually.

Since 1990, the Public Service Awards have recognized public sector attorneys who have distinguished themselves as role models, innovators and problem solvers of complex legal issues. The 2015 Public Service Awards were presented to six public service attorneys, including Jeffrey, on September 17 at the NYCLA offices in downtown Manhattan, with special remarks given by Seymour W. James, Jr., Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society.

L to R: Carol Sigmond, NYCLA president and Catherine Christian, NYCLA's Public Service Awards Committee Chair with honorees: Catherine Bowman, Legal Services NYC; Jennifer Brown, Federal Defenders of New York; Randal Jeffrey, New York Legal Assistance Group; Bonnie Jonas, Southern District U.S Attorney's Office; Melissa Mourges, New York County District Attorney's Office; Maria Navarro, Legal Aid Society; and Cynthia Pong, Legal Aid Society, Bronx.

L to R: Carol Sigmond, NYCLA president, and Catherine Christian, NYCLA’s Public Service Awards Committee Chair with honorees: Catherine Bowman, Director of the HIV/LGBTQ project, Legal Services NYC; Jennifer Brown, Attorney-in-Charge of the Federal Defenders Southern District Trial Unit; Randal Jeffrey, Director of the General Legal Services Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group; Bonnie Jonas, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, Southern District U.S Attorney’s Office; Melissa Mourges, Chief of the Forensic Sciences/Cold Case Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office; Maria Navarro, Supervising Attorney of the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society; and Cynthia Pong, Staff Attorney, the Legal Aid Society, Bronx. Also pictured: Geoffrey Bickford, co-chair of NYCLA’s Criminal Justice Section and Seymour James, Attorney-in-Chief of the Legal Aid Society.

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved tribute to an exceptional lawyer who has devoted more than two decades to increasing access to justice for low-income New Yorkers in myriad and innovative ways. After working for years on vital impact litigation that helped to ensure fair access to public benefits and assistance for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, Randal took the helm of our General Legal Services unit, where he has applied his legal skills and managerial acumen to dramatically expand the services NYLAG provides to low-income individuals,” said Beth Goldman, NYLAG’s President and Attorney-in-Charge. “I am thrilled and grateful that NYCLA has recognized the extraordinary contributions that Randal has made on behalf of New York’s most vulnerable residents.”

Jeffrey joined NYLAG in 1998 and was named the Director of GLS in 2003. The unit provides direct civil legal services in a wide array of areas. GLS has numerous special projects that are tailored to help vulnerable populations such as seniors, the disabled, low-wage workers, tenants facing eviction, homeowners facing foreclosure, consumers struggling with debt, veterans, and others. During his first five years at NYLAG, Jeffrey litigated class actions in NYLAG’s Special Litigation Unit, securing critical court decisions and settlements that drastically improved low-income New Yorkers’ access to public benefits and assistance. He is an expert on welfare issues in New York City and has published several articles on poverty law issues. Jeffrey has also taught lawyering and writing at Cardozo Law School. Prior to coming to NYLAG, Jeffrey was a pro se law clerk with the Second Circuit’s Staff Attorney’s Office and a Georgetown Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

Coverage of the event was featured in the New York Law Journal.