For the Public Good
Every year, in honor of National Pro Bono Celebration Week, NYLAG joins the legal community in highlighting the ever-increasing need for pro bono services and celebrates the outstanding achievements of law firms, in-house corporate counsel, and attorneys who promote the public good by providing critical legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers.
This year (October 25 – 31) the agency marked the occasion by rolling out an unusual itinerary for the Mobile Legal Help Center, which made stops at courthouses across New York City. Bolstered by pro bono attorneys, the MLHC team set up resource materials outside jury pool areas with information about civil, housing and family court. NYLAG and the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program targeted the jury pool – a cross section of the population– to strategically spread awareness about legal services to people who may have not otherwise known about them.
The commitment of pro bono attorneys at NYLAG goes far beyond one dedicated week. Year-round, talented attorneys work tirelessly to help level the playing field for poor and low-income families. Last year alone 1500+ volunteer and pro bono attorneys gave 103,269 hours valued at more than $18M. This remarkable contribution enables the agency to serve over 76,000 people annually.
It is an exciting time to be a part of the pro bono community not just at NYLAG, but throughout New York City. The movement to ensure representation for low-income litigants in housing court, ongoing support for fairness in consumer debt cases, and the City’s commitment to expanding access to justice are just a few examples of how the city is recognizing the importance of civil legal services. In September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he believes the day is approaching when the government will guarantee all citizens a lawyer in civil court cases. Pro bono attorneys will no doubt play an important role in making this a reality.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and pro bono attorneys who have worked at clinics, staffed the Mobile Legal Help Center, taken on cases at private firms and given your time and talents to NYLAG. If you are interested in joining the movement to provide access to justice for all New Yorkers, click here to learn about available opportunities and submit an application.