The skill, time, and enthusiasm of our pro bono volunteers transform lives and create lasting impact for New Yorkers affected by poverty. We have a number of pro bono opportunities for attorneys regardless of your level of experience or practice area.

INDIVIDUAL CASE REFERRALS

NYLAG distributes a monthly case list of matters that have been screened by NYLAG staff attorneys. Represen­tative matters include consumer law, elder law, employment law, family and matrimonial law, housing, immigra­tion (asylum, U Visa, VAWA), public benefits, veterans’ rights and advanced planning. A NYLAG mentor follows the matter and assists pro bono counsel with training, sample documents and other substantive help as necessary, except where otherwise specified, until the final resolution of the matter. Many of our clients often need the assistance of attorneys with expertise in tax, real estate, and trusts and estates litigation. To receive the monthly case list and request an individual matter, contact us.

COMMUNITY-BASED ONE-DAY CLINIC OPPORTUNITIES

NYLAG Mobile Legal Help CenterNYLAG routinely offers one-day clinic opportunities 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 onsite NYLAG staff attorneys. To learn more or volunteer for one of these programs, click on each program below.

Mobile Legal Help Center (MLHC)

The MLHC is the country’s first-ever legal services office and courtroom on wheels. Volunteers conduct intake interviews with MLHC visitors, and provide information and brief advice on a variety of civil legal issues includ­ing housing, public benefits, matrimo­nial and family law and employment matters.

Immigration Relief Screening Clinic

Volunteers conduct thorough screen­ings of clients at community-based immigration clinics who are seeking immigration relief for themselves or their families. Volunteer Spanish and Mandarin inter­preters are often needed.

Immigration Application Assistance

NYLAG hosts clinics for individuals seeking to complete immigration ap­plications, including for naturalization and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Volunteers review the necessary forms and documents, and draft petitions and fee waivers, if applicable. Learn more.

COURT-BASED LIMITED SCOPE OPPORTUNITIES

NYLAG’s limited scope opportunities in the courts allow our pro bono partners to obtain litigation experience without assuming the responsibility of full representation.  Typically these opportunities are completed in the same day.  Pro bono attorneys have the option of continuing representation but are not required to do so.

SDNY Pro Se Legal Clinic (Manhattan and White Plains)

NYLAG’s Pro Se Legal Clinic presents opportunities to assist individuals who are or planning to represent themselves in civil lawsuits in the Southern District of New York. Training and supervision is provided. To learn more or volunteer for this program, see our one-day clinic opportunities.

Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program

Volunteer attorneys and law student interns have the opportunity to represent clients in Civil Court and negotiate with opposing counsel. The Volunteer Lawyer for the Day program is supervised by an on-site coordinating attorney with expertise in consumer credit law. To apply for this program, send a resume and cover letter with your availability and court location preferences to [email protected]

LAW-FIRM HOSTED CLINICS

Law firms and corporate partners may host limited scope or extended service clinics. All clinics begin with a CLE training and immediately followed by the initial attorney-client interview. In some instances, cases will be assigned after the clinic. NYLAG staff supervises client meetings and is available to answer questions and offer guidance throughout the clinic day. Pro bono counsel then continues representation of the client, with NYLAG attorney mentors providing continuing  supervision through completion of the matter. To learn more or volunteer for one of these programs, contact us.

Limited Scope Naturalization Clinics

Pro bono attorneys assist pre-screened immigrant clients to apply for citizenship pro se. Volunteers review the necessary forms and documents and draft naturalization petitions and fee waivers.

Extended Service Asylum Clinics

Pro bono attorneys have the unique opportunity to receive a focused training on specific claims for asylum, working with individuals fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. Recent asylum clinics have assisted groups of clients such as gay and lesbian Russian nationals who were beaten and imprisoned for their homosexuality and West African survivors of female circumcision who became activists opposing this procedure. While these cases are resource and time-intensive, winning asylum provides immigrants with life-changing safety and security- the opportunity to live and work legally in the United States, a path to family reunification, and ultimately a green card and citizenship.

U Visa Extended Service Clinics

The U Visa is a special humanitarian remedy for undocumented victims of serious crimes and/or domestic violence who cooperate with US law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of that crime. Pro bono attorneys work with pre-screened clients to prepare the requisite forms, draft a compelling affidavit, and obtain supporting evidence including therapist’s letters and medical records. Clients with approved U Visas receive work authorization and are eventually able to apply for a green card. Derivative status is available for qualifying immediate family members.

VAWA Self Petitions and Battered Spouse Waivers

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides an avenue for immigrant victims of physical or emotional abuse to break free from their U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident abusers and adjust status (file for a green card) without the consent, cooperation or involvement of their abusers. Filing a VAWA or BSW petition involves preparing and filing the requisite USCIS forms, affidavits and other documents evidencing battery and/or extreme cruelty with the local USCIS office. Filing fee waivers are available to low-income clients.

Veterans Legal Assistance Project

Pro bono attorneys help veterans secure the compensation and benefits earned through their dedicated service to our country. Pro bono attorneys screen veterans for a variety of legal issues and provide assistance completing benefits applications during a one-day clinic model.

Uncontested Divorces for Survivors of Domestic Violence

NYLAG supports survivors of domestic violence build safer lives for themselves and their families. One way we do that is by representing them in simple no-fault divorces. These matters are suitable for both litigation and transactional attorneys, as the petition is filed on the papers and no court appearances are required.

IN-HOUSE PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES

NYLAG’s attorney volunteers have diverse backgrounds – ranging from retired attorneys to attorneys in transition to first-year associates and law graduates.  Volunteers commit to working a minimum of 2 days or 15 hours per week, either at NYLAG’s Manhattan headquarters. Supervising NYLAG attorneys oversee the work of NYLAG volunteers, who interact directly with clients and can expect to provide legal and factual research, litigation preparation, client advocacy, discovery, motion practice and more. To apply for in-house pro bono opportunities, complete our online Get Involved form.

Attorney Emeritus Program
NYLAG hosts attorneys enrolled in the Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP). AEP volunteers are at least 55 years of age with at least ten years of legal experience. An AEP volunteer can be retired or still engaged in the practice of law. AEP volunteers commit to performing a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono service during a 2-year registration period. We solicit AEP volunteers by posting opportunities on the New York State Unified Court System website which is linked to the AEP application and information.

CLE FOR PRO BONO ATTORNEYS

NYLAG is an accredited Pro Bono CLE Provider, and as such, can provide CLE credit for pro bono service an eligible attorney performs. The attorney should complete an affirmation describing the services provided and stating the number of hours of eligible pro bono legal service that the attorney performed. The affirmation shall be submitted to [email protected]. Upon receipt, NYLAG will issue a Letter of Participation. For more information about CLE credit for pro bono service, go to www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/cle (Pro Bono Information).

Click here to download and complete an affirmation.