WHO WE ARE
NYLAG fights for fair and equal access to justice for those who need it most.
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. During COVID-19, most of our services are virtual to keep our community safe. NYLAG’s staff of 300 impacted the lives of nearly 90,000 people last year.
NYLAG creates both individual and systemic change.
We protect and advance the rights of individuals and families experiencing poverty or in crisis who face legal challenges that threaten their economic stability and safety. NYLAG believes that poverty is a systemic issue shaped by laws, institutional policies, cultural representations, racism, and widespread beliefs—not the result of individual behaviors or ‘bad’ choices. We know that without a lawyer, justice may be out of reach. We also work to identify systemic issues that have an impact beyond an individual client: we push for changes in laws and regulations; for government reform; and for more equitable court practices.
NYLAG advances justice through community partnerships.
We build innovative partnerships to effectively and strategically resolve our clients’ legal problems and reach underserved communities, such as people of color, seniors, veterans, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people with disabilities. That’s why we collaborate with more than 150 hospitals, schools, libraries, and neighborhood organizations across New York. We also make visits to the homebound, and our Mobile Legal Help Center is on the road to bring lawyers into local communities.
NYLAG also expands justice beyond New York.
While our services primarily help those living or residing in New York, our class action lawsuits have national impact, such as our representation of student loan borrowers and Medicaid recipients. And, our immigration work touches the lives of children and adults from many different countries of origin.
NYLAG’s fight for justice changes lives, including:
- Survivors of intimate partner violence seeking safety for themselves and their children
- Individuals and families facing eviction
- Seniors and individuals with disabilities in need of critical health benefits
- Veterans facing denial of benefits
- Families in need of subsistence benefits, such as food stamps
- Immigrants fleeing torture and persecution who need protection in the U.S.
- Children with disabilities denied an appropriate education
- Workers whose wages were stolen