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Suffolk courts offer legal system guidance

For the second year in a row, Suffolk court officials are hosting a day to help people navigate the sometimes bewildering world inside their doors.

The Central Islip courthouse on Carleton Avenue will host Community Law Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

"We're trying to reach the underserved and underrepresented who come to the courthouse," said court spokeswoman Marian Tinari. In particular, legal service agencies will focus on people reeling from the effects of superstorm Sandy or struggling with consumer debt or foreclosure, and on veterans facing legal issues, she said.

Various legal services providers will have a table in the courthouse's second-floor mezzanine. They will include the Suffolk County Bar Association, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services, the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, Touro Law School's Public Advocacy Center, the Amistad Black Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association and others that can guide people to the attorneys or legal services available.

In the parking lot, a mobile legal help van will again be staffed with attorneys who can offer a free half-hour consultation. People who want to reserve a session can call 631-853-8396 to sign up.

The program was conceived by Judge Fern Fisher, director of the state's Access to Justice Program and the deputy chief administrative judge for New York City courts. She has worked for years trying to make the legal system more accessible and organized the state's first Community Law Day in Albany.

Court interpreters will be available to help non-English speakers, Tinari said.

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