Omshanti Parnes
Adjunct Professor of Law

Telephone: 917.301.2367

I ‘came of age’ in the second half of the twentieth century during a period of‘movements’ and ‘social change’ of which the Legal Services ‘movement’ was a part. Years later, my decision to pursue a legal career was influenced by the ideals that gave rise to federally-funded civil legal assistance and its relationship to movements for social change.

I began in 1980 as a staff attorney in a Legal Services Corporation funded program in northern New York and served as its director for over a decade. In 1996, Congress adopted stringent new restrictions on legal services attorneys. I sought and obtained alternative funding for a newly conceived legal aid organization and served as its first director.

In New York City between 1998 and 2005 I worked with ‘at risk’ youth as legal director at the Door, Covenant House and Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School. With a fellowship from the Open Society Institute I experimented with legal rights training focused on developing advocacy skills among at risk youth and non-lawyers, to encourage advocacy by clients and non-lawyers.

Currently, I provide training for statewide organizations serving at risk youth in areas of law that affect young people. I serve as a law guardian in New York Family Court and Supreme Court and maintain a private practice of law. I currently serve on the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Advisory Committee for Runaway and Homeless Youth.