About Legal Service of Central New York
Who Are We?
We are a non-profit law firm founded in 1966 to provide free,
civil legal assistance to low-income families and individuals in thirteen counties
of Central New York. We provide our clients legal assistance with 19 lawyers and 5
paralegals. We are governed by Boards of Directors made up of attorneys, clients, and
community representatives. We serve clients residing in our core counties of Broome,
Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga,
Otsego, and Oswego. Some of our projects cover more counties.
In 2004, Legal Services of Central New York, the Legal Aid Society of Mid New York, and Legal Aid for
Broome and Chenango Counties reorganized and formed the Justice Alliance of Central New York. A major funding source had restricted
funding for certain types on clients (non-citizens, for example) and certain types
of critical legal strategies (class actions, for example). Civil legal services was
reorganized in our region in order to make sure that we can use the full array of legal
tools that lawyers have to properly represent people with significant legal needs.
Who Are Our Clients?
Our clients are familiar faces to all of us. They are our
neighbors, co-workers and friends. They are senior citizens, veterans, and
disabled individuals who turn to us in their time of need. They are families
and individuals denied legal protection because they cannot afford an attorney.
In Central New York, about 265,000 people are financially eligible for legal
services from the Justice Alliance. Many others are eligible for our services
because of the kind of legal problem they have. Each year we work on cases which affect
the lives of more than 17,000 people. Two-thirds of our clients are women, often struggling
to raise a family on their own; more than half of our cases directly impact the lives of children.
What Do We Do?
The legal assistance we provide ensures our clients have those things many of us
take for granted. We represent people in court, at administrative hearings, before
government agencies and the legislature. We apply our resources and expertise to ensure
our clients’ needs are addressed fairly and their voices heard. We address important
local issues and concerns, guiding our clients through complicated laws, helping them
know and enforce their rights. In short, we help stabilize the lives of people who have
been marginalized, helping them achieve dignity.
What Are Our Results?
Our work is far-reaching. Legal services helps low-income families and
individuals secure not only the necessities of life, but human dignity. By
restoring individuals and families to productive, independent and healthier
lives, the entire community benefits.
Why Free Legal Services?
Low-income New Yorkers generally experience more than
two serious civil legal problems each year. These legal problems often affect
families' and individuals' basic needs – food, shelter, medical care, safety,
and family stability. When such problems are experienced and not addressed,
their disruptive force affects the ability to work and live productively and
independently. This destabilizing factor contributes to the cycle of poverty.
When low-income people in Central New York have civil legal problems, they can
turn to us.
Executive Director's Welcome
Welcome to Legal Services of Central New York, Inc. We are
pleased that you stopped by and hope you will find what you need.
You will learn about us – what we do, who we serve, and where you
might find help for your civil legal problem. We are constantly
exploring new ways to help those who have legal problems but cannot
afford a lawyer. We hope that we can reach more clients, either directly
or thorough community service providers.