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NYLAG Names Lisa Rivera as New President and CEO

With a 20-Year Tenure at the Organization, Rivera Brings Experience in Domestic Violence Law, Community Partnerships, and Program Design.

For Immediate Release 

Contact: nkhasawneh@nylag.org |  212.613.6566

(New York, NY) – The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), a leading civil legal services organization, announced today the appointment of Lisa Rivera as president and CEO. Rivera, a public interest attorney and staunch advocate for client-centered and trauma-informed legal services, has served in a range of positions at NYLAG for two decades, most recently as managing attorney. She is the first person of color and first Latinx person to serve in this role, and began her tenure on July 1, 2022.

During her 20 years with NYLAG, Rivera has led at all levels of the organization, from on-the-ground advocacy to capacity building. As its first managing attorney, Rivera guided NYLAG’s legal programs and led initiatives that increased the organization’s impact, strengthened community alliances, and enabled greater access to legal services.

As president and CEO of a team of 350 attorneys, paralegals, and financial counselors, Rivera will focus on community access and empowerment. By deepening NYLAG’s relationships with local organizations and leaders, Rivera plans to expand NYLAG’s presence in New York City communities so that residents can access legal services directly in their neighborhoods. Drawing on local connections and insights, the organization’s programming, funding, and priorities will be centered around community needs and the issues faced by those who are most impacted by lack of access to legal services. Rivera will also concentrate on honing NYLAG’s voice in policy advocacy to contribute to lasting systemic change. At the foundation of these efforts will be staff development: training legal professionals to be both practitioners and social justice advocates with a strong understanding of systemic inequity and its impact on clients.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead NYLAG’s incredible team of passionate advocates,” Rivera said. “These are increasingly difficult times, with economic instability, rising threats to civil liberties, and continuing systemic injustices both in and outside of our legal system preventing our clients from accessing safety, resources, and justice. NYLAG’s commitment to fair and equal access to justice is unwavering, and we will continue our history of responsive programming while sharpening our advocacy for equitable policies so that we can ensure sustainable change for New Yorkers who need it most.”

Rivera’s roots in public interest law began during her time as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence with NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Law Unit (formerly the Matrimonial and Family Law Unit). These formative years were the catalyst for her enduring commitment to client-centered, trauma-informed legal services, as well as to developing emerging social justice leaders. Earlier in her career, Rivera worked with the National District Attorneys Association to develop trainings on domestic violence and sexual assault. As co-director of the Domestic Violence Clinical Center with St. John’s University School of Law, Rivera taught and mentored future public interest attorneys.

“We are honored to welcome Lisa Rivera as NYLAG’s president and CEO,” said Jill L. Rosenberg, Esq., chair of the Board of Directors at NYLAG. “NYLAG’s has always centered the rights of those most impacted by injustice. This time of immense challenges requires a new, bold approach to truly meet the needs of New Yorkers who face barriers to the legal support they need. Lisa Rivera has first-hand experience, personal knowledge, and sharp skills to move NYLAG into a new chapter where community voice and equity are even more central to our approach and priorities. “

“NYLAG is an ever-more critical partner in the UJA-Federation network – providing essential legal services for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We congratulate Lisa and look forward to working closely with her and the exceptional NYLAG team,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York.

“NYLAG has been an important civil legal services provider for over 30 years and served as a critical lifeline through the COVID-19 pandemic. The urgency of the social-economic issues faced by New Yorkers requires strong and focused leadership, and I congratulate Lisa Rivera for being named NYLAG’s new President and CEO. Throughout her career Ms. Rivera has demonstrated an ability to impact positive and meaningful change, and I know she will continue NYLAG’s great work as their leader,” said New York City Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-06).

“I am proud to offer my sincerest congratulations to Lisa Rivera on being named the new NYLAG CEO. Ms. Rivera’s steadfast commitment to those in need, including immigrants and survivors of domestic violence, has changed countless lives for the better and set an example for the next generation of lawyers looking to use their degree to serve the public. I look forward to working with her in her new role,” said New York City Council Member Shaun Abreu (D-07).

“The New York Immigration Coalition congratulates Lisa Rivera in her new role as president and CEO of NYLAG,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “The NYIC has been a longtime partner with NYLAG and looks forward to working more closely with Lisa and the rest of her team as they continue to expand their work with organizations like ours to ensure immigrants and low-income New Yorkers have access to the legal services they need to keep their families safe and secure. New Yorkers stand a better chance of realizing justice because of NYLAG’s work today and Lisa’s vision for the future.”

About New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

Founded in 1990, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. Our services include comprehensive, free civil legal services, financial empowerment, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community partnerships. NYLAG exists because wealth should not determine who has access to justice. We aim to disrupt systemic racism by serving individuals and families whose legal and financial crises are often rooted in racial inequality. NYLAG goes to where the need is, providing services in more than 150 community sites (e.g. courts, hospitals, libraries) and on our Mobile Legal Help Center. NYLAG impacted the lives of nearly 90,000 people last year. For more information, visit nylag.org.

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