What We Do
What kind of civil, non-criminal, cases does legal aid usually handle?
- Domestic violence – if your partner is abusing you, legal aid can help you obtain a protective order, a child custody order and divorce.
- Housing – if you are being evicted from your home or if your house is in foreclosure, legal aid may be able to help.
- Public Benefits – if you have a problem with welfare, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security, legal aid may be able to help.
- Impact Advocacy — LASNNY is engaged in impact advocacy to effect systemic change in our community. This advocacy takes a variety of forms, including litigation, advocacy which falls short of litigation, informal advocacy/persuasion, community advocacy, and intentionality in seeking out and pursuing direct service cases which engage a particular pattern or practice by an actor within the social/legal system. Systemic advocacy does not replace our rich tradition of direct service but rather complements it.
Our advocacy plan encourages attorneys, in tandem with their supervisors and the advocacy coordinator, to identify systemic problems and determine how best to engage them. Some representative issues which we have seen include multiple tenants who have had to leave one housing unit due to unlivable conditions; the requirement in some courts that a tenant deposit money with the court in order to get a hearing on the condition of the property; and the improper denial of replacement SNAP benefits. Additionally, attorneys are offered the support they need to carry out this advocacy. This has included co-counseling and extra training where warranted.
LASNNY also handles other problems including immigration, consumer, and disability issues.
The objective of our community lawyering project is to support initiatives within poor and underserved communities. By working closely with community based churches, neighborhood associations, social organizations, senior centers and advocacy groups, we are able to participate in strategies that will not only serve our clients, but also provide them with legal skills that support social change. If you are a community-based organization or coalition and think that legal assistance might help you achieve your goals email us at: [email protected]
Community Legal Education and Training
In addition to the services we provide to individual clients, we provide training, education and written materials to groups and organizations of low income people about their legal rights in order to prevent legal problems from occurring.
LASNNY serves the constituents of 14 New York State Assembly districts and 8 New York State Senate districts in Northeastern New York. If you are a legislator or legislative staffer with program specific questions, or data on the services provided to constituents in your district contact (518) 689-6336 or [email protected]
LASNNY advocates for funding for civil legal services as allowable by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). We are also members of the New York Legal Services Coalition, a coalition of New York legal services organizations that have joined together to create a statewide voice to insure access to civil justice for those in need.
Some sections of the community have particular legal needs that require specific expertise to resolve. Many of these needs are addressed as Special Projects, which often are funded by grants from local and national governments and organizations. Our Special Projects are described here.
LASNNY produces videos for PSAs and other uses. Watch them here.