We are known for our ability to identify critical issues, develop and implement creative solutions and monitor ongoing results. Our staff has protected and strengthened the legal rights of people in New York who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised for more than forty years. We do this through three major areas of service.

We teach the law by providing training, support and technical assistance to legal services and
private attorneys and other community-based advocates to help them better serve their clients.

We practice the law by providing direct civil legal assistance and undertaking impact litigation.

We improve the law by engaging in policy analysis, research and advocacy.

Each of these areas of service builds on and strengthens the other. Providing individual direct legal assistance to clients and working in local community collaborations strengthens and informs our policy analysis, research and advocacy by making sure it’s grounded in reality. Our policy and research efforts help strengthen and inform our training, support and technical assistance to the legal and human services communities around the state, helping to keep them as informed and up-to-date as possible about the legal rights and protections available to their clients and consumers. This support to the community gives us greater insight into how these laws, rules and regulations are directly impacting individuals which allows us to come full circle and provide the legal assistance and impact litigation where warranted to improve, strengthen, enforce and, where necessary, work to change those laws, rules and regulations. It is a powerful multi-pronged approach that strives not just to provide needed assistance, but have deeper and longer lasting impacts.



People served.

Generated from
Policy Work.

advocates trained.


To be the statewide leader working to achieve social and economic justice for people in New York State who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised. To be an organization that respects the dignity and promotes the growth of each staff member, cultivates leadership from within, and instills accountability through clear internal systems so that we are most effective in serving our clients and working for justice.


To make the law work for all new Yorkers, especially for those who need its protection the most.

Testimonals and Stories

" People should be able to live their lives free from danger and violence but, in certain areas of the world, this is not possible. James and his family were persecuted—his own father murdered—in h . . .

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James - Finding Refuge

" A transgender man was about to graduate from a certificate program, but because he had not yet legally changed his name, the school registrar refused to call out his preferred masculine name at the gr . . .

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Leo - Living Authentically

" Hannah, a Bovier service dog, takes her job very seriously. She watches over eight year old Devyn, alerting Devyn’s mom and teachers to oncoming seizures, and providing mobility supports that allow . . .

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Devyn - A Dog for Devyn

" For 32 years Althea and her husband made their house into a home—planting flowers by the front door and installing a wheelchair ramp for Althea to get around. But as they aged they faced more and mo . . .

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Althea - Home Sweet Home

" Camila applied for a child care subsidy through the local Department of Social Services (DSS). She and the father of the four children are both undocumented immigrants and working full time. Their chi . . .

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Camila - The Cost of Child Care

" At 60 years old, Charles is a smart, educated man. He’s not afraid to advocate for himself, and at times, he must—he’s been living for more than 40 years without the ability to use his arms and . . .

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Charles - Fighting to Survive

" In front of a judge, everyone should have the opportunity to defend themselves.
However, Iliana found herself trying to make her case before an administrative judge who didn't speak her languag . . .

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Iliana - Driven to the Brink

" Laurie, a young mother and homeowner, applied for temporary assistance from the local Department of Social Services (DSS) to get her family through a difficult time. But in exchange for receiving publ . . .

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Laurie - Practice, Teach, Improve

" Sarah is a 58 year old woman with a long work history, but the lagging job market has been a barrier to consistent employment, forcing her to move from one temporary job to another. So when her Unempl . . .

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Sarah - Overcoming Everything