Across the top of the whiteboard hanging in Lou Sartori’s office are the watchwords of Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Practice. Whether through individual representation of an at-risk client, answering calls on the Access to Benefits Helpline, or bringing groundbreaking civil rights litigation, the Pro Bono Practice provides over two thousand volunteers from major New York City law firms with training, supervision and mentorship which allow them to deliver life changing legal assistance to a multitude of Legal Aid clients each year.
Prior to joining the Pro Bono Practice, Lou was the Attorney-in-Charge of the Society's Manhattan and Staten Island Juvenile Rights Practice offices, supervising staff representing thousands of court involved youth and oversaw the initiation of programs focusing on literacy and the needs of adolescents transitioning from foster care. He previously served on the First Department Family Court Advisory Committee and was an Adjunct Professor at St. John's University School of Law. A frequent presenter at the ABA’s Equal Justice and other national conferences, Lou also co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s annual Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation program. Lou is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Coordinators Network, The Public Interest Pro Bono Association (PIPBA), and the New York City Bar Association Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services.
Since his appointment as Director in 2011, Lou has worked closely with Society staff in developing pro bono projects benefitting trafficking survivors, senior citizens, immigrants, LGBT communities and residents of public housing. Increased participation by attorneys from in-house legal departments and other corporate professionals helped expand the number of clients served. As a result, each week Legal Aid staff call with new ideas and requests for assistance. The answer is always the same: