Daily Archives: Apr 27, 2020



New Yorkers who need help securing unemployment benefits through the appeal process will be matched with attorneys provided by the pro bono partnership launched by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and the state court system. Hundreds of lawyers are preparing to assist clients beginning this week.

A new innovative website, www.nysba.org/legalhelp, provides resources for filing an unemployment claim and will match attorneys – free of charge – with those whose claims are unsuccessful.

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are out of work due to the coronavirus, and we know that some of them will need help to obtain the unemployment benefits to which they are entitled,” said Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. “We are pleased to partner with NYSBA to offer this vital assistance and we thank all the generous lawyers who are giving of their time so selflessly.”

“Becoming unemployed is one of the most stress-inducing things that can happen in a person’s life, and we are dedicated to reducing that anxiety any way we can. This program will help ensure New Yorkers can access the benefits they need and deserve,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “I’d like to personally thank the bar association, the court system and the hundreds of lawyers who have stepped up to help their neighbors during this difficult time.”

“This is an unprecedented moment for New York and the legal community alike,” said NYSBA President Henry M. (Hank) Greenberg. “It’s gratifying to see so many lawyers willing to put their expertise at the disposal of those who are suffering. We know that unemployment benefits are a lifeline for many families, and we welcome the opportunity to provide assistance.”

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, of counsel at Latham & Watkins and coordinator of the network, praised everyone involved for getting the pro bono network up and running in such a short period of time.

“Ensuring access to justice is paramount right now,” Lippman said. “This project will help unemployed New Yorkers get the benefits they need and are entitled to.”

The site provides guidance both on filing unemployment claims and how to find help if those claims are denied. Participants detail their Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims using an intake form, developed by Clio, a legal tech provider. Once complete, NYSBA will use Clio’s client intake software to match the participants with pro bono attorneys onboarded and made available through Paladin’s online portal of volunteers. To ensure efficiency and ease, pro bono attorneys will be given free access to Clio’s secure case management software to manage the appeal process.

“We’re honored to use our software to help NYSBA streamline access to justice for so many who need it,” said Jack Newton, CEO and co-founder of Clio.

“By creating one central place for New York attorneys to find, learn about, and sign up for COVID-related pro bono work, we’ll be able to connect more individuals in need with qualified attorneys, faster,” said Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s co-founder.

More than 26 million Americans – including over 1.4 million New Yorkers – have filed unemployment claims in recent weeks. More than 1,500 attorneys attended NYSBA’s recent training program, “Applying for Unemployment: Client Counseling Under the CARES Act.”

New York’s existing network of pro bono and public defense attorneys was strained prior to COVID-19. The state court system and NYSBA are taking this action to ensure that all New Yorkers can exercise their right to legal counsel at a time when the need for legal services will likely be higher than ever before, and fewer people will be able to afford representation.

While the pro bono network’s first task is handling unemployment benefits, it is quickly gearing up to also address a range of other issues – from evictions to domestic violence to job and housing discrimination.

Lawyers who are interested in joining this cause should go to https://nysba.org/covidvolunteer/to sign up. If you have specific questions about volunteering, please contact NYSBA via e-mail: covidvolunteer@nysba.org.

For more information regarding the partnership: https://nysba.org/ny-state-court-system-joins-with-new-york-state-bar-association-to-launch-pro-bono-network-to-respond-to-pandemic/

In addition, NYSBA has transformed its website and social media accounts into hubs of legal information regarding the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more at: https://nysba.org/coronavirus.

About the New York State Bar Association

The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.



Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Browning is the second patient to receive the shot in the study. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Clinical trial led by Roswell Park, University at Buffalo will test effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drug

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University at Buffalo (UB) have launched a collaborative clinical trial that will make a new investigational treatment option available to local patients who are hospitalized and diagnosed with critical or severe COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus, which has already sickened more than 163,000 patients in the United States. The study, led by Igor Puzanov, MD, MSci, FACP, of Roswell Park, will allow eligible patients at four local medical facilities to participate in a large international study of the anti-inflammatory agent sarilumab.

“Some of the ways that COVID-19 affects the body are similar to how cancer and auto-immune conditions affect the body, so we can draw on what we know from those fields to address the pressing challenge of how best to treat the novel coronavirus. We are applying the extensive expertise in immunotherapies and the immune response that we have here at Roswell Park and UB, hoping that we can improve outcomes for individual patients and dampen the pandemic’s impact on Buffalo and Western New York,” says Dr. Puzanov, Director of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program and Chief of Melanoma at Roswell Park and overall Principal Investigator on the trial, who has done extensive work with a similar drug, tocilizumab.

“In March, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a partnership with Regeneron to support a U.S. clinical trial of sarilumab in certain COVID-19 patients,” says Congressman Brian Higgins, who has been speaking with researchers at Regeneron in recent weeks. “The selection of Roswell Park, and other local partners, as collaborators on this study brings promising potential COVID-19 treatment to local patients enrolled in this trial and continues the longstanding tradition of Roswell researchers being at the forefront of breakthrough science.”

Co-Principal Investigator Gene Morse, PharmD, of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will oversee protocol activities for the three additional local sites invited to participate in this study: Erie County Medical Center, in collaboration with John Crane, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine in UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Buffalo General Medical Center and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, in collaboration with Jamie Nadler, MD, also Professor of Medicine in the Jacobs School.

“As a career-long investigator in viral diseases, I am excited by the advances possible for treating COVID-19 and HIV by applying new knowledge learned about the immune system by cancer researchers. And how fortunate we are that world-renowned Roswell Park scientists like Dr. Puzanov are right here in Buffalo,” says Dr. Morse, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of UB’s Global Virus Network Center of Excellence.

“This clinical trial, which came together in a matter of days, is a great example of how collaborative research moves farther and faster than work any one of our centers could achieve alone,” notes James Mohler, MD, a urologist who is Associate Director and Senior Vice President, Translational Research and Chief of Inter-Institutional Academics at Roswell Park. “We hope to announce soon clinical trials of other new or repurposed drugs to help patients suffering from COVID-19 in Western New York and elsewhere.”

The local trial will be part of a large international clinical trial sponsored by Regeneron and Sanofi, the companies that make sarilumab. The drug, also known as Kevzara, is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits the interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway by binding and blocking the IL-6 receptor. While it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, experts believe IL-6 inhibitors may help to prevent or control the overactive inflammatory response in the lungs of patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19 — a hypothesis based in part on preliminary data from a study in China using the similar agent, tocilizumab.

“This strategy does not treat COVID-19,” notes Dr. Puzanov. “It’s designed to address some of its most damaging effects, caused by inflammation and cytokine storm. If it is proven effective in reducing or preventing severe lung injury in these patients, it could significantly reduce the need for ventilators. And that would truly be a big relief right now.”

The study is expected to enroll quickly and may only be open to new patients for a brief period.

Additional collaborative studies for COVID-19 and other diseases are anticipated through this network of clinical researchers led by Roswell Park and in collaboration with UB.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@RoswellPark.org.


The City of Buffalo is thinking ahead to the end of New York State’s PAUSE order by previewing proposals for its new normal.

Mayor Byron Brown announced a proposal to continue using a work from home and flexible scheduling model even after the order is lifted.

“It could create a dynamic where fewer people would be coming to City Hall every week,” he said “There’d be less cars on the road, there’d be less energy usage for heat, for electric, there’d be less waste being created, less paper that would have to be recycled and for those that have been concerned about parking in downtown — more parking availability.” “More importantly, it would keep our employees and citizens safer.”

It is part of the City’s proposal to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% in 2020.

We reached out to other large employers in the area to see whether similar discussions are being had.

A spokesperson for Erie County said it’s very early still, but when the PAUSE order is lifted “there will be a process to determine what the new normal will look like as it relates to the Erie County government workforce, but right now it’s all hands on deck to respond to the pandemic.”

And the University at Buffalo, another large employer in the region, said it is having discussions both at a local level and within the SUNY schools system about following suit. 

All discussions are preliminary and as far as the City’s plans it would have to be ironed out with the common council, workers’ unions, and the comptroller.


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