Browse the latest Pro Bono Opportunities at The Legal Aid Society.
NOTE: These opportunities are only available to attorneys affiliated with firms that have an established pro bono relationship with The Legal Aid Society.
If you are interested in working on one of these matters, please contact the Pro Bono Counsel at your law firm to receive authorization and check conflicts.
Our Community Development Unit is working with small women-owned company whose focus is helping New York State property owners, facility managers, and developers comply with Local Laws related to indoor air quality (IAQ). They are seeking pro bono assistance in several areas. First, the client has been offered an opportunity to sublicense a propriety duct sealing method. The vendor is requiring the execution a “Patent Sublicense and Supply Agreement” and the client would like help with reviewing it. Additionally, they need assistance with drafting and filing an Application for Authority Foreign Business Corporation and with drafting an operating agreement.
Our client, a low-income cancer patient with limited English proficiency, was scammed out of her life savings and seeks pro bono assistance with her fraud complaint and related arbitration.
In April 2022, our client shared her bank information, which was promptly used to begin a wire transfer. When our client discovered a scammer was trying to wire transfer money out of her account, our client notified Citibank that she did not authorize the transfer. Unfortunately, the bank wired all $36,000 of her life savings to the scammer anyway.
Citibank instructed our client to fill out fraud affidavits, which she did. However, Citibank has so far refused to return our client’s money and instead is blaming our client for the unauthorized transfer of her life’s savings. Our Housing Justice Unit helped our client file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but is unable to take on the additional work alone. Our client seeks pro bono assistance with gathering any additional documentation from our client to pursue her fraud claims with Citibank, as well as anticipated representation for arbitration and other related proceedings.
The Juvenile Rights Practice seeks pro bono representation for a client who was sexually abused by his therapist while placed by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for minors located in Westchester County. This therapist previously worked at another organization and is rumored to have been the subject of similar allegations involving those residents. Our client’s adoptive parent is aware of the incident and is willing consider suing on behalf of our client in this matter.
Our client was 16 years old at the time he was living in the RTC and the incident occurred. While our client did not want to cooperate with the police investigation at the time of the incident given his traumatic experiences with law enforcement, he is interested in holding the therapist accountable with a civil action. Our Juvenile Rights staff believe that the Westchester Police Department is in possession of crucial evidence including cell phone records that were provided to them by the RTC and security footage showing our client entering his therapist’s office and exiting two hours later.
Pro bono counsel would assist our client identify any claims against the therapist, the agency who runs the RTC, and ACS who was responsible for this client’s placement. Counsel would also obtain any relevant evidence from the Westchester Police Department and other entities. Assuming there are viable claims, Pro Bono Counsel would move forward with filing a litigation a civil action on behalf of the client. Juvenile Rights Practice advocates are available to advise and assist but will not co-counsel on this matter. Due to the client’s unstable housing and limited means to communicate, this client would benefit from an attorney who is patient and flexible.
Our clients fled Venezuela after the military broke into their home in an attempt to intimidate and extort the family as part of a larger military campaign focusing on small business owners. Our primary client, the mother of the family, entered the United States on 8/24/2023, along with her three minor children and the father of her youngest child. Upon entry to the United States, our client was sexually abused by a US immigration officer. She reported the incident to other immigration officers and continues to cooperate in a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) internal investigation regarding this incident.
Pro bono counsel is needed to represent our client and her family on applications for asylum, a Change of Venue Motion from Houston to New York, and any additional matters before the Immigration Court. Counsel will also need to advise the mother regarding her continued cooperation with the CBP internal investigation, which could potentially allow the family to pursue a U visa for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
The next Immigration Court hearing date is scheduled for 1/17/2024 in Houston, and the family must file for asylum before 8/23/2024.
LAS Immigration Law Unit advocates are available to advise and assist on this matter, but pro bono counsel should expect to take lead on all aspects of representation, including providing translation and interpretation as needed. LAS will provide access to recorded trainings outlining the basics of asylum representation and interviewing clients.
Our Health Law Unit seeks pro bono assistance on behalf of our client who wishes to pursue affirmative litigation against her prior employer who failed to properly notice a COBRA-qualifying event and retroactively disenrolled our client from their health insurance. These actions caused our client to be ineligible for Medicaid and left her with extensive medical debt.
Our client worked for a New York State-run psychiatric program until October 2020 when she was terminated due to loss of funding during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our client had a self-funded health insurance plan through her job and coverage was set to end a month after her termination. Our client was approved for Medicaid once she believed her employer-provided health insurance ended. However, the New York State of Health (NYSOH) sent her notice that she could not enroll into a Medicaid managed care plan because she was still enrolled in her prior plan. Our client did, however, qualify for Medicaid fee-for-service as secondary insurance. When our client attempted to disenroll from the employer-provided plan she was told that her employer would have to terminate her coverage and that she could not do so unilaterally. Our client made numerous attempts to contact her former employer’s HR department but never received a call back. Our client needed medical attention during this time, so she continued to use her employer-provided insurance with Medicaid fee-for-service. Between 2020 and 2022, our client went a step further and confirmed her coverage by calling plan provided by her previous employer before most, if not all her doctor visits.
In January 2023, our client called her plan before a medical appointment and was told that her former employer terminated her coverage retroactively to November 2020. Our client received a COBRA notice dated 2023 indicating that in 2020 she experienced a COBRA-qualifying event and that she would have to pay over $800/month retroactively to 2020 to receive coverage. Our client cannot afford to pay retroactively for COBRA because most, if not all, of the medical providers she saw between 2020-2022 do not accept Medicaid fee-for-service. Our client is now responsible for all doctors’ fees billed during her non-coverage period, which she cannot afford.
Initial research by our Health Law Unit on the COBRA FAQ on the NYS Department of Financial Services website indicates that employers are supposed to send COBRA notification within 30 days of the qualifying event. Furthermore, our client was supposed to receive a COBRA letter 30 days after her job loss and not three years after the fact.
Our Health Law Unit advocates seek pro bono co-counsel to explore what steps our client should take to address the failure of her prior employer and represent our client on the relevant advocacy and potential litigation.
LAS’ Housing Justice Unit represents a client in a holdover case in Housing Court. Because of the unique circumstances of his relationship with his prior partner, the client needs additional legal assistance in order to file a partition action in Kings County Supreme Court. Legal Aid does not have the requisite experience and is seeking pro bono assistance on behalf of the client.
Our client and his partner were a couple for almost thirty years before they decided to separate. Although the couple held a marriage ceremony in a church in 1996, they did not legally marry once it was possible to do so. The couple lived together at the subject property since 2000 and in 2016 our client and his partner executed a deed transferring the property from our client’s partner to both of them. This deed was signed and notarized but was not recorded. Our client wishes to obtain compensation for his portion of their shared property through a partition action and also seeks assistance with authenticating the deed, thereby vindicating our client’s rights as a co-owner of the property and allowing him to move out of the apartment. Unlike most Legal Aid referrals, pro bono counsel would execute an engagement directly with the client since Legal Aid would not act as co-counsel on the partition matter.
The Legal Aid Society’s Housing Justice Unit is representing a client in a Bronx Housing Court matter and during the course of our representation she has expressed the need for assistance in filing an Article 81 Guardianship for her son. Our client is a single parent to a teenager who has been diagnosed with autism. She is a tireless advocate for her son while simultaneously juggling the myriad of burdens of being working poor in an expensive city. Our client is looking to obtain advice and filing assistance in anticipation of her son’s 18th birthday in October of this year.
Our Employment Law Unit seeks pro bono co-counsel on behalf of a Department of Education (DOE) employee whose well-supported reasonable accommodation requests are being illegally denied. We anticipate that litigation will be necessary to address these issues.
Our client has worked for the DOE for about eight years as a counselor or in similar roles. She worked in numerous school buildings with no health problems until her most recent assignment. While working at her current school, our client has developed allergic reactions to something or some things in the building. According to our client, a building inspection revealed the presence of mold, cockroaches, and droppings. Our client submitted extensive medical evidence from her eye doctor, an allergist, an ENT, and a cardiologist supporting her request for a transfer to another building. The DOE continues to deny her transfer request citing that she is not eligible for a “hardship transfer” under her union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Our client had an appointment with the DOE’s doctor who advised her to resubmit her request for a transfer. When our client attempted to resubmit the transfer request, she received an automated message blocking her from making the renewed request because she already has reasonable accommodation registered in their system. This reasonable accommodation is for an air purifier, which is not adequately addressing her health needs.
Our Employment Law Unit has already reached out to Counsel’s Office at the DOE but anticipates litigation will be necessary to address these illegal denials and seeks co-counsel to pursue further advocacy.
Plaintiffs and Legal Aid clients filed a case in the Southern District of New York against their landlord and former employer. C., one of the Plaintiffs, worked as a building superintendent from June of 2020 to January 2021 where C and his partner, the second Plaintiff, currently live. During his tenure as a super, C’s employer, (Landlord) failed to pay C tens of thousands of dollars in overtime wages for his long hours of work. Landlord also made disparaging comments about Black and Latino residents of the building, even referring to C, who is Latino, with an ethnic slur. Eventually, Landlord fired C because of his bias against Latinos.
Landlord continued to harass C and his partner after the termination to force them out of their employer-provided housing. Landlord made frivolous calls to the police hoping to have C arrested. Additionally, Landlord cut off critical utilities services and withheld maintenance to make C and his partner’s continued residence painful and difficult hoping to force them out. C and his partner have a history of homelessness and are facing eviction from Landlord’s property.
C has asserted employment claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, New York Labor Law, and New York City Human Rights Law. Plaintiffs also assert claims under the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, as well as for private nuisance and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The matter is currently in discovery with a trial date set for early May 2024. Although discovery is scheduled to end in early March, it will likely be extended, and our Employment Law Unit anticipates defending depositions in February and March. In addition to taking and/or defending depositions, work will also include assisting with ongoing settlement negotiations in mediation, appearing before the court, and negotiating with opposing counsel to resolve discovery disputes, responding to potential motion for summary judgement by Defendants, and preparing for and appearing at trial.
Last Updated: 20 February 2024
2024 The Legal Aid Society. All Rights Reserved