We are proud to announce that NYLAG has named Sirrah Harris the first-ever director of outreach and access to justice programs. A graduate of Fordham University School of Law, Harris has been with NYLAG for seven years. She was most recently the project director for the Mobile Legal Help Center (which she will continue to oversee in her new role). Before that, she was a staff attorney in LegalHand and in NYLAG’s Storm Response Unit. Harris also co-created NYLAG’s NYC COVID-19 Legal Resource Center, which has helped nearly 4,000 people during the pandemic.
Harris has deep expertise in legal services, race equity, anti-poverty work, and developing effective outreach and intake models to reach the most vulnerable individuals. Harris will draw on this experience in this new role. She will be responsible for developing strategies for outreach and engagement to provide civil legal information, resources, and representation to individuals who otherwise may not have been able to access legal assistance. She will supervise a team of lawyers, paralegals, and volunteers in a number of NYLAG’s programs, including NYLAG’s Mobile Legal Help Center, NYC COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline, NYLAG’s participation in community-based programs such as LegalHand (a legal community storefront) and in 20 UJA hubs across New York City.
“NYLAG is committed to combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. A fundamental part of this effort is ensuring that our outreach and intake efforts are culturally responsive and appropriate” said President & Attorney-in-Charge Beth Goldman. “Harris is a valued member of the NYLAG team and has been a key strategist in growing and improving our outreach and engagement efforts within New York’s communities, especially in communities of color. This new role is both a marker of our commitment to grow these efforts and recognition of Harris’achievements.”
NYLAG has long practiced community-based lawyering and 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 (MLHC). Under Harris’ leadership, MLHC brought free legal services to isolated communities, holding 168 site visits or virtual sessions with 45 partners last year. We also reached 24,400 people last year through our various virtual legal clinics and outreach efforts throughout NYC communities.
Sirrah Harris had this to say about the new role: “I am excited and honored to be taking on this new role. NYLAG has a history of responsive, community-based work that is client-centered and adaptive to the needs of our community members. In my seven years at NYLAG, I’ve seen this for myself in myriad ways, and most recently during COVID when we all banded together to address the many legal needs caused by this pandemic such as unemployment, access to long term care and home care, and housing. In this new role, I look forward to building on NYLAG’s history and collective expertise to expand our reach throughout New York City, with the goal of making legal assistance more accessible for all.”