Legal Aid Society

Defending the Accused & Incarcerated

As New York City’s primary public defender, we believe advocacy must not only take place in the courtroom, but also in the communities where our clients live and work. Our holistic practice provides zealous, experienced representation to our clients. Every day our defenders are engaging clients, community members, and advocacy groups, helping to amplify the voices of people affected by a broken criminal legal system, especially those who are incarcerated in jail, prison or detention centers.

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Every day, in courthouses and communities across the city our Criminal Defense team advocates for the rights of all New Yorkers. Learn more about the services we provide.

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Making a Difference

Projects, Units & Initiatives

Our specialized teams have experience working on nearly every area of law that impacts New Yorkers. Explore the ways we fight on behalf of clients and communities.

A Day in the Life

Holding the NYPD Responsible in the Cop Accountability Project

Jennvine Wong is making sure police officers who commit egregious acts against the communities we serve are held accountable.

Jennvine Wong 

Our Impact

The Clean Slate Act Will End Perpetual Punishment

The Legal Aid Society lauded Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law.

Legal Aid has long been an advocate for the critical legislation that will automatically seal conviction records for more than 2.3 million New Yorkers — a disproportionate number of whom are from low-income communities of color.

By the Numbers

As the primary public defender in New York City, our impact goes beyond any single case or client. We’re committed to addressing systemic inequities in the criminal legal system so no one is denied their right to freedom and the presumption of innocence.


Total client matters handled by the Criminal Defense Practice.


Legal services provided by the Community Justice Unit, including rap sheet clinics, safe surrenders, and Know Your Rights events.


Appeals and post-conviction applications filed by our Criminal Appeals Bureau.

Make a Meaningful Impact

The Legal Aid Society changes the lives of our clients with the help of our generous supporters.

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