New York is one of the most diverse cities in the country. We demand equal justice for all New Yorkers—regardless of who they are or where they come from.
Every day, in courthouses and communities across the city, we advocate for the rights of all New Yorkers. Learn more about the services we provide.
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.
Racial Justice Unit
Immigration Law Unit - Youth Project
The Prisoners' Rights Project
The Legal Aid Society is part of a statewide coalition supporting the 13th Forward bill package which would abolish slavery without exception in NY’s constitution and extend workers’ protections to incarcerated New Yorkers.
New York’s groundbreaking Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, a law The Legal Aid Society helped draft, was signed into law in March 2021. The bill provides a national model on how to shift from excessively punitive approaches to restorative social justice.
The legislation legalizes adult personal use of cannabis and drastically downgrades penalties for illegal use, eliminating many of the most harmful and destructive effects that had characterized marijuana prosecutions of otherwise law-abiding New Yorkers. It creates and regulates a legal marketplace for cannabis sales that ensures that revenue from the legal sale of marijuana is reinvested into communities targeted by prohibition.
The law also provides for the automatic expungement of hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related convictions, the vast majority of which involve Black and Latinx individuals, allowing them to move forward with their lives unencumbered by the legacy of the disastrous War on Drugs.
Our work touches the lives of the most disenfranchised groups in New York City, and pushes our society closer to racial equity through individual and systemic anti-racism representation and advocacy.
Of clients served by the Civil Practice identify as BIPOC.
Of clients served by the Criminal Defense Pratice identify as BIPOC.
Of incarcerated New Yorkers identify as non-white.
Every donation helps us offer essential legal services to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, helping people buy food, pay rent, and care for themselves and their families.
Last Updated: 31 January 2023
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