Legal Aid Society

Pro Bono & Volunteer Opportunities

Attorneys, law students, and other volunteers work in partnership with Legal Aid Society staff in order to expand our ability to provide legal services to a greater number of clients and communities.

All pro bono referrals have been screened by our attorneys and legal professionals who are experts in the field. Those same experts remain on the case to provide mentorship and guidance throughout the representation.

From The Staff of the Pro Bono Practice

We Draw Strength from You

Last year, over 1,900 volunteers donated 190,000+ hours of legal assistance to the clients of The Legal Aid Society.

But no metrics can adequately quantify what pro bono assistance means to a family facing homelessness, a client whose rights are violated by unlawful police conduct, or a child in foster care whose educational needs are not being met.

For over 140 years The Legal Aid Society has worked together with the private bar to provide life changing legal assistance and deliver “Justice In Every Borough”.

The staff of The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Practice is:

Beth Hofmeister, Supervising Attorney
Rosemary Hare-Bey, Pro Bono Coordinator
Ivanna Guerra, Pro Bono Administrator
Lou Sartori, Chief Counsel

Time & Talent




hours of pro bono work


matters handled by volunteers and interns

2023 Pro Bono Honor Roll

Amazon Web Services
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Dechert LLP
DLA Piper
Fish & Richardson, PC

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP
Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan LLP
Kostelanetz LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Petrillo Klein & Boxer LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
White & Case LLP
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP


The Honorable Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Publico & Public Service Law Firm Award

The Legal Aid Society is proud to recognize Dechert LLP for its exceptional pro bono commitment to our organization and clients. Under the leadership of Legal Aid Board Member and New York Managing Partner Mauricio España along with Pro Bono Partner Suzanne (Suzie) Turner, the attorneys, legal assistants, and administrative staff at Dechert have been a committed partner with our staff in meeting the legal needs of the less fortunate in New York City. In the past two years Dechert has contributed nearly 7,000 hours of legal services to the clients of the Legal Aid Society. Scores of Dechert staff provided critical assistance to clients in every area of Legal Aid Society practice including public benefits with the Civil Practice, child welfare with the Juvenile Rights Practice and appellate advocacy with the Criminal Defense Practice. Below are just a few examples that demonstrate the breadth of Dechert’s commitment to our work.

Earlier this year, Dechert, along with Legal Aid’s Civil Law Reform Unit and NYLAG filed Forest v. NYC – a class action lawsuit brought alleging the City was failing to process applications and recertifications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cash assistance (CA) within the 30-day timeframe required by federal and state law. These federal and state benefits are essential for low-income people to purchase food and other basic needs. The processing delays have caused tens of thousands of families to face food instability and unnecessary hardships. On July 30th the court issued a preliminary injunction requiring the City to come in full compliance and eliminate the backlog of applications. 

For many years NYC and NYS have denied children a foster care placement with suitable kin as foster or adoptive parents. In November of 2021 Dechert, along with the Juvenile Rights Practice Special Litigation and Law Reform Unit, filed B.B. v. Hochul. a class action lawsuit seeking to change the policy and allowing children to placed with family rather than in stranger foster care. Despite an unfavorable District Court ruling, Dechert continues to work with JRP to explore ways to address this important issue. 

Legal Aid’s Criminal Appeals Bureau has long relied on law firm pro bono assistance to protect the rights of clients who wish to challenge convictions in Criminal and Supreme Court.  Most recently, a team of Dechert attorneys led by Partner Douglas Dunham, secured a vacated sentence for a Legal Aid client who had been sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. The team argued that the trial justice should have recused himself because his principal law clerk had previously served as a prosecutor on the case. The Appellate Division agreed.

The Legal Aid Society is proud to present Dechert with its 2023 Honorable Jonathan Lippman New York Pro Bono Publico & Public Service Law Firm Award. Through its extraordinary pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients, the attorneys, legal assistants and administrative staff of Dechert LLP has clearly demonstrated that the firm shares Judge Lippman’s goal of “making equal justice for all not just an ideal, but a reality.”


Public Interest Law Leadership Award

Wesley R. Powell is recognized for his extraordinary contributions as a volunteer attorney, for his constant support of The Legal Aid Society and its clients, and as a leader of Willkie’s outstanding pro bono program and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. Wes’ work alongside the staff of the Health Law Unit, LGBTQ Law & Policy Initiative and Law Reform Unit has impacted thousands of disempowered New Yorkers.
In 2018, Legal Aid and a Willkie team led by Wes filed Ciaramella v. Zucker, a challenge to New York’s restrictions on Medicaid coverage for medically necessary dental care for root canals, crowns, replacement dentures and dental implants. In 2020, Freshfields joined as co-counsel on the case. In 2023 the NYS Department of Health agreed to a Stipulation of Settlement which will provide up to five million New Yorkers access to dental care previously not covered by Medicaid.

This was not Wes’ first litigation impacting access to appropriate treatment for Medicaid recipients in New York. Wes and Willkie were also co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project on Cruz v. Zucker, a groundbreaking case which in 2016 resulted in the provision of gender affirming care to transgender Medicaid recipients in New York state. Wes has led Willkie pro bono teams on similar litigation which has helped secure similar coverage in several additional states.
Wes has recently been honored with a Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Award, the New York State Bar Association Justice for All Award and has led teams recognized for pro bono excellence by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and Immigration Equality. Wes has previously been honored with Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Publico Award six times.

We are proud to recognize Wes with the 2023 Public Interest Law Leadership Award and salute his dedication to Legal Aid’s mission that no person should be denied the right to equal justice.

Wesley R. Powell  Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP