Legal Aid Society

Reforming Law & Policy

To bring justice, fairness and equity to our clients and their communities, we must not only represent our individual clients, but we must also change the laws and policies that are causing the harm. We create this change through affirmative litigation, law reform and policy advocacy and we have a record of success that is decades long.

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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.

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Learn More About Our Reform Work

The law reform units in each of our practice areas work together and with the staff of our neighborhood trial offices to ensure that we take on the issues most pressing to our clients and that our advocacy aligns with the needs of those most impacted and closest to the issues.

Our Impact

A Clean Slate for Millions of New Yorkers

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

Our Impact

Dental Coverage for New Yorkers on Medicaid

The Legal Aid Society, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP announced a historic settlement in Ciaramella v. Zucker – a federal class action lawsuit brought against the New York State Department of Health (DOH) on behalf of Medicaid recipients in New York who were denied coverage for medically necessary dental care by New York State.

The settlement will affect roughly five million individuals statewide, as reported by The New York Times. Most significantly, it ends the strict limit denying coverage for crowns and root canals to individuals with more than four pairs of teeth, an archaic policy not aligned with modern US dental practice. Coverage for those procedures will now be approved for Medicaid recipients when deemed medically necessary. Changes to the benefit program focus on added coverage for routine dental care and procedures, to help Medicaid patients preventatively maintain better oral and overall health.

By the Numbers

Our work goes beyond individual cases to address corrosive inequities and fundamental problems within the legal system, driving landmark rulings that positively impact the lives of millions, in New York City and beyond.

52 cases

Our active law reform docket includes 52 cases.


Volunteer lawyers trained to assist protesters in filing complaints about police violence and unlawful arrests during the summer’s protests against police misconduct.


75% of our juvenile and adolescent clients who are prosecuted in adult court are released back their families and communities because of the advocacy of our Adolescent Intervention Diversion Unit.

A contribution to The Legal Aid Society is about more than money.

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.

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