Amid tragedy, suffering and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a glimmer of positive news has come from the state’s judiciary, which successfully implemented a statewide “virtual court” system this month, expanding quickly to all 13 of the state’s judicial districts. However, representatives of poor and moderate-income communities across the state say they’re concerned for underserved clients who may have trouble getting connected.

In a letter sent Wednesday to New York Unified Court System Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks, attorneys from New Yorkers for Responsible Lending said they are concerned about representation for people in vulnerable communities, including low to moderate income, limited English proficiency, elderly and pro se clients who face technological obstacles, lack of computers and limited access to high-speed internet services. At the same time, limited legal assistance programs to assist pro se litigants have been suspended.