Who we are
We are a Law Firm for poor people. We provide assistance and representation to poor people in civil, not criminal, cases. Our Service is free. There is no cost for any of the services we provide. We believe that everyone has the right to equal justice regardless of the ability to pay.
The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York provides effective, free civil legal services and education to and advocacy for people with low income or other barriers to accessing the legal system. We secure basic needs,protect and preserve legal rights, provide equal access to justice and seek fairness and dignity for our clients.
The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is the successor organization to the Legal Aid Society of Albany, originally incorporated in 1923, and one of the oldest legal services organizations in the United States.
The first attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Albany was Ruth Miner, who worked part-time for $50 per month. When asked why she sought judgment in cases involving as little as one dollar, Miner replied "Justice is not measured by the amount of money: Justice is an idea". Arthur J. Harvey was the Society's next attorney, often handling 1,000 matters a year. He believed that everyone deserved representation, regardless of their situation in life.
The Legal Aid Society was one of the first programs to receive federal funding under the Economic Opportunity Act in 1966. As federal funding expanded, so did the Legal Aid Society, growing from 1969 to 1996 to include Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.
Through the years, the Society has coped with the shifts and uncertainties of federal and state funding. Aggressive fundraising and grantwriting have helped establish and maintain a vigorous program of high quality civil legal aid. In 2002, the Legal Aid Society moved to its new, fully accessible offices at 55 Colvin Avenue in Albany. In 2004, the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York merged with North Country Legal Services and also assumed responsibility for serving Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties. We now serve a 16-county service area in northeastern New York: Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montogmery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington. The Legal Aid Society has offices in Albany, Amsterdam, Canton, Plattsburgh and Saratoga Springs.
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To see a timeline of our first 90 years, click here.
The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is funded by grants from the Legal Services Corporation, the Interest on Lawyer Account Fund of the State of New York, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, New York State Legislature, NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, NYS Department of Health, NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, Albany County Department for Aging, Fulton County Office for Aging, St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging, Washington County Office for the Aging, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Office for the Aging, City of Saratoga Springs, City of Albany, Bank of America as trustee for the Frederick McDonald Trust, New York State Bar Foundation, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Albany Law School, Nutrition Consortium of the State of New York, Assemblyman Robert Reilly Salary Fund, NYS Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal, NYS Division of Banking, Barry Alan Gold Memorial Advised Fund, The Equinox, Warren County, City of Saratoga Springs, Schenectady County, Wait House, Albany County Department of Social Services, Opportunities, Schenectady Community Action Program, Corporation for AIDS Research, Education and Services, Joseph’s House, Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties, Charities of Schoharie County, Albany County Rural Housing Alliance, United States Department of Justice Law Firms and private contributors through the Justice for All Campaign.
LASNNY has signed the Diversity Principles and Goals for New York's Legal Services Community. For more information, please read the following links:
Statement of Diversity Goals of New York’s Legal Services Community
Principles of Leadership and Diversity for New York’s Legal Services Community