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Brooklyn Law School creates clinic to address pandemic-related employment issues

April 23, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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So many New Yorkers have filed for unemployment benefits in recent weeks that it has completely overwhelmed the government’s ability to help them all. Brooklyn Law School wants to step in to help.

Brooklyn Law School announced this week that for this summer it will create the Pandemic Employment Relief Clinic (PERC), where law school students will get an opportunity to help people address pandemic-related employment issues.

Prof. Minna Kotkin, the director of BLS’ Employment Law Clinic, will oversee PERC, which will attempt to focus on freelancers and gig workers, which make up a large portion of Brooklyn’s working community and previously were not eligible for unemployment insurance.

Prof. Minna Kotkin will oversee the Pandemic Employment Relief Clinic that Brooklyn Law School will launch this summer to help unemployed New Yorkers.
Photo: Rob Abruzzese/Brooklyn Eagle

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left so many workers in an economically vulnerable position, and we are pleased to have found a way our law students can assist,” said Prof. Kotkin. “As one of the few clinical programs that focuses on unemployment insurance, we were uniquely positioned to create this program very quickly to meet the needs of these unprecedented times. It will also give our students the opportunity to gain meaningful legal experience when summer opportunities are now so limited.”

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The clinic is expected to last eight weeks during the summer term. It will kick off with remote mini-courses that will provide students with training and familiarity with the new unemployment insurance and family leave laws.

The participating students, who will all be first and second-year students working pro bono or through a public-service grant, will be assigned clients who they will advise remotely with faculty supervision.

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