In a speech given May 3, the Hon. Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the NY Court of Appeals, proposed a 'Civil Gideon’ program, one which would provide right to counsel in New York State for the indigent in cases involving basic human needs. According to a 2008 study by Brennan Center counsel Laura Abel, every year least 80% of the civil legal needs of low-income New Yorkers go unmet, and the majority of these concern core issues such as housing, child custody, food, employment, and health. Judge Lippman plans to set up statewide hearings to assess legal needs. The NY Times has more background.