NYLAG has a robust pro bono program, offering a wide range of opportunities for attorneys, law graduates and law students to engage in pro bono service. NYLAG partners with major law firms in New York City, corporate counsel, and New York City area law schools to increase access to justice for low-income New Yorkers.
NYLAG’s clients include immigrants, seniors, the homebound, families facing foreclosure, renters facing eviction, low-income consumers, those in need of government assistance, children in need of special education, domestic violence survivors, persons with disabilities, patients with chronic illness or disease, low-wage workers, low-income members of the LGBTQ community, Holocaust survivors, and others in need.
NYLAG pro bono opportunities include:
- Individual case referrals (click here to learn more)
- Consumer Debt Defense Project (click here to learn more)
- NYLAG’s Mobile Legal Help Center (click here to learn more)
- Legal clinics to address urgent and other large-scale needs (click here to learn more)
For more information about NYLAG’s pro bono opportunities, contact:
|Judith Muñoz (read bio)||Sara Levine (read bio)|
|Pro Bono Manager||Pro Bono Manager — Immigration Specialist|
|[email protected]||[email protected]|
If you are interested in getting involved with NYLAG’s pro bono program, you may also fill out a short online form so that we can determine which NYLAG volunteer or pro bono opportunities are the best fit for you. To fill out the form, click here.
Individual Case Referrals
NYLAG compiles and distributes a monthly list of individual pro bono cases that have been screened by NYLAG staff attorneys for legal merit and the client’s financial eligibility. To ensure a quality experience, NYLAG provides as much assistance and guidance as necessary, including training materials and other forms of assistance. In many cases, a NYLAG staff attorney is matched with pro bono attorneys and can provide advice and help developing a legal strategy. Attorneys must be admitted in New York and be covered by legal malpractice insurance to take on an individual pro bono case.
Typical matters NYLAG refers to pro bono counsel include:
Consumer Law: Bankruptcy; Consumer Debt Defense
Elder Law: Home care; Medicaid; Special Needs Trusts – Pooled Trusts
Employment Law: Discrimination (Age, Gender, Disability, Religion, National Origin, Sexual Orientation); Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); Unemployment and Wage and Hour
Family & Matrimonial Law: Appeals; Contested Divorces; Child Custody; Child Support; Uncontested or Simple No-Fault Divorces
Housing: Holdover Petitions; Judgment Enforcement; Repairs/Conditions; Succession Rights
Immigration: Asylum; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Family-Based Petitions; Naturalization; Temporary Protected Status (TPS); U-Visa; VAWA Self-Petition
LGBTQ Issues: Asylum Based on LGBTQ Status; Family-Based Relative Immigration Petitions for Same-sex Married Couples; Name Changes; Second-Parent Adoptions
Note: NYLAG also refers matters that assist LGBTQ individuals with a full-range of traditional civil legal services, including employment, housing, consumer debt, family and matrimonial law, and more.
Public Benefits: Fair hearings; SSDI/SSI Appeals
Veterans: Discharge Upgrades; VA Benefits
Note: NYLAG also refers matters that assist veterans with a full-range of traditional civil legal services, including employment, housing, consumer debt, family and matrimonial law, and more.
Wills & Life Planning: Health Care Proxy; Last Will and Testament; Living Will; Power of Attorney; Small Estate Administration; 17A Guardianships
Consumer Debt Defense Project
Because of the current economic downturn, significant numbers of New Yorkers are finding themselves summoned to court by debt collectors. In 2008 alone, nearly 300,000 consumer credit cases were filed in New York City’s Civil Courts. Even though all plaintiff creditors have counsel, only about 1% of consumer debtor defendants have legal representation. Nearly all of these defendants have nowhere to turn for legal advice because of the lack of free legal services available in these matters.
The New York State Access to Justice Program and NYLAG launched the Consumer Debt Volunteer Lawyer for the Day for unrepresented litigants in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. NYLAG seeks admitted attorneys and/or 2nd and 3rd year law students and law graduates for a pro bono opportunity with the Volunteer Lawyer for a Day-Consumer Debt Defense Project to provide limited, one-time direct representation to unrepresented litigants in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island Civil Courts, which are accessible by public transportation. Volunteers will be able to assist particularly vulnerable and overlooked litigants in desperate need of representation.
The program is supervised by an on-site coordinating attorney with expertise in consumer credit law. Volunteers will receive intensive consumer law training prior to taking on their first case. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to step inside a courtroom and litigate a case with close supervision, all while helping the consumers who need it most!
Volunteers must commit to participating in the training and at least three shifts per month for at least three months. To see the schedule for volunteers at each of the locations, please click here.
Mobile Legal Help Center (MLHC)
NYLAG’s Mobile Legal Help Center (MLHC) is the country’s first-ever legal services office and courtroom on wheels. Staff provide counseling, advice, and direct representation without leaving the vehicle. A video link with the courts enables access to judges for emergency hearings, including domestic violence and eviction cases. The MLHC contains four private meeting areas for attorneys and clients and is equipped with high-speed Internet and state-of-the-art technology. It travels throughout the five boroughs and Long Island and Westchester, focusing on areas with limited public transportation options. Pro bono attorneys, law students, and law graduates attend site visits with NYLAG staff in the vehicle and assist with all aspects of the service. The schedule and location of the MLHC varies week to week. For more information and current schedule, click here.
NYLAG offers occasional clinics in the community to address urgent and other large-scale needs. Participants undergo training in the legal issues addressed in the clinic and are supervised by NYLAG staff attorneys. Participation in legal clinics is limited. Always wait for confirmation before attending a clinic.
To view current clinic opportunities, click here.