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Annual Report 2004 - 2005

Coming Full Circle

November 1, 2005

Annual Report 2004-2005 Image

We are excited and proud to publicly unveil our first annual report as Empire Justice Center.  We have come full circle – from two separate organizations with distinct programs and staff to a dynamic, statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy non-profit law firm with a mission to make the law work for all New Yorkers.

Before embarking on the incredible journey, we could not have imagined what synergies and opportunities would develop as a result of our merger and renaming.  In two short years, we have aligned staff into Practice Groups, created a new management structure, expanded our board and introduced Empire Justice Center to the community.  With all of the changes, one thing remained – and remains – constant:  our commitment to protecting and strengthening the legal rights of people in New York State who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised.

A statewide support center, we undertake research and training, act as an informational clearinghouse, and provide litigation backup to local legal services programs and community based organizations.  As an advocacy organization, we engage in legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of those impacted by poverty and discrimination.  As a non-profit law firm, we provide legal assistance to those in need and undertake impact litigation in order to protect and defend the rights of disenfranchised New Yorkers.

Each of our services areas builds on, strengthens and informs the other.  From our support work, we hear about emerging issues or problems with current practices.  These “stories from the field” inform and strengthen our policy work and litigation strategies.  Our policy and legislative work ensures we are well poised to train, inform, empower and – if need – litigate.  Through our direct legal services representation of clients, we learn firsthand how services and benefits are being delivered, how rights are or are not being respected.  Our unrestricted access to the courts and impact work informs and strengthens our training and legislative work.  Our successes and defeats in the courts bring us full circle back to training and supporting advocates on the issues.  It is these amazing, intersecting circles of strength and power that allow Empire Justice staff to choose from a full arsenal of tools when it comes to making the law work of all New Yorkers.

It has truly been an amazing two years and we could not end this message without extending our deepest gratitude to those of you who continue to believe in and support our work – staff, volunteers, board members, funders, donors and community partners.  In the days ahead we invite you to join our circle and to stand with us as we continue to pursue equal access to just for all.

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2004 - 2005 Annual Report

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