BPC Winner Named a Rising Star

Open Hands Legal Services (“Open Hands”) Executive Director, C.J. Masimore, has been recognized by The New York Law Journal as one of its 2014 Rising Stars.  Open Hands is a Center for Faith & Work Business Plan Competition  winner. The award recognizes New York lawyers age 40 and under “who have established a record of accomplishments and demonstrated that they are top contributors to the practice of law and their communities.”  An esteemed panel of judges selected the 42 award recipients out of more than 230 nominations.  A profile of Ms. Masimore appearing in a special section of the New York Law Journal on Monday, June 16 highlights the “leadership role to grow and strengthen a unique model of services to low-income New Yorkers” undertaken by Ms. Masimore and notes that “[u]nder her leadership, Open Hands has experienced a 600 percent growth in its client base.”

Karen I. Wu, President of Open Hands, commented: “This is a well-deserved recognition of C.J.’s hard work and her passion to serve individuals in need.  We are grateful that this panel of judges chose to include among its honorees the leader of a Christian legal aid organization.”  Open Hands Legal Services’ mission is to faithfully respond to God’s call to seek justice and defend the rights of the poor by providing legal services and counseling to the poor and indigent in New York City.

Open Hands brings together volunteer attorneys to provide legal advice and representation to clients, focusing primarily on housing, family and re-entry law.  Open Hands partners with established community-based organizations to provide legal services, and currently assists clients at The Father’s Heart Ministries (on Manhattan’s Lower East Side), The Relief Bus (in East Harlem), All Angels’ Church – Our Place Café (on Manhattan’s Upper West Side), Exodus Transitional Community (in East Harlem), The Bowery Mission (at its lower Manhattan and East Harlem locations), and Defy Ventures (Manhattan).

Ms. Masimore has served as Open Hands’ Executive Director since September 2011.  During her tenure, she has developed an entrepreneur law workshop to serve ex-offenders, developed a Know Your Rights curriculum, and increased the number of its service sites from one to seven. Ms. Masimore currently oversees over 100 volunteer attorneys, translators, law students, and paralegals, and one part-time staff attorney.  For more information about Open Hands Legal Services and its work, visit

More information about the Rising Stars award is available here.