LIFT Honors Counsel to Mayor de Blasio and Raises $335,000

LIFT Honors Counsel to Mayor de Blasio and Raises $335,000

July 7, 2015

Legal Information for Families Today celebrated the work of Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, at its annual “A Benefit for Families Gala” on Tuesday, June 23 and raised $335,000 in proceeds.

Wiley received the Ruth Ainslie Schlesinger Memorial Champion of Children and Families Award, which was created to honor the former board member who passed away in 2005. In her current position, Wiley offers legal counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio on the operations of his executive staff and on a plethora of other policy matters. While Wiley fights for New Yorkers in various capacities, pushing for universal affordable broadband access and serving as the Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise Director for New York City, her efforts as the mayor’s liaison to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary and as a member of the city’s Procurement Policy Board certainly resonate with the stated missions of LIFT.

Beginning in 1996, LIFT has strived to close a gap in the city’s judicial system that often imperils low-income residents moving through family court. Few residents passing through this particular court system - despite their low-income statuses - qualify for free legal counsel. As a result, many of these individuals lack adequate representation when facing issues such as negotiating terms of child support, custody, or visitation.

Through lobbying efforts to the family court and by way of pro bono legal guidance centers conveniently situated in the courts themselves, LIFT has worked to lessen the burden on these families. CEO Sharon Myrie praised the donors and sponsors that allow LIFT “to provide these families with the compassion and guidance they need to address life-changing issues,” according to a press release.

In addition to recognizing Wiley, the nonprofit acknowledged the pro bono services of a local law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP. Judge Judith Kaye accepted an award on behalf of the firm. LIFT also recognized the valued contributions of Citi and KPMG LLP at its June gala.

Everett Pelzman