New YorkNew York

About Us

LawHelpNY (www.lawhelpny.org) is an online tool for helping low-income New Yorkers solve their legal problems.  Our mission is to:

"Provide and promote access to, high-quality online information about free legal services throughout New York, about legal rights in a broad range of substantive areas, about the court system, and about related advocacy, government and social service organizations. We are committed to providing information that is user-friendly, in English, Spanish, and other languages, in order to help low-income and other vulnerable New Yorkers achieve equal access to justice."

LawHelpNY is the only comprehensive source of legal referral information in the state and includes:

  • More than 600 free legal service projects & organizations with their contact & intake information.
  • Over 4,000 Know Your Rights and self-help resources covering 16 areas of law.
  • Extensive links to social service, advocacy and government organizations, information about the Court system.
  • Spanish mirror website and legal rights resources in more than 30 languages.

 

Click here to read about our collaborative and innovative work using technology and community partnerships to bring access to justice for low-income New Yorkers.

 

LawHelp/NY is a collaborative project of:

 

LawHelp/NY Staff

Quisquella Addison: Program Director (qaddison@nylawhelp.org)  

Quisquella joined Pro Bono Net in July 2016. Previously, she worked as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society focusing primarily on eviction defense. She began her legal career as the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow and LiveHelp Program Coordinator with LawHelpNY. She is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Mount Holyoke College. Prior to law school, Quisquella was the Constituent Services Director for New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman. She also lived abroad for several years in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where she taught and volunteered with a local women’s law project. She is a 2012 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow, holds a Certificate in Corporate Compliance from Fordham University School of Law and is a Certified Mediator. Originally from Boston, she currently lives in New York City.

Anne O'Grady: Content Manager (aogrady@nycbar.org)

Anne is a family and immigration lawyer practicing in New York City.  She has been working with LawHelpNY since its founding in 2001.  

Michelle Born: LiveHelp Program Coordinator (mborn@nylawhelp.org)

Michelle  joined LawHelp as the LiveHelp Coordinator in September 2015.  She worked as an Immigration Attorney at The Bronx Defenders after receiving her J.D. from CUNY School of Law. Before law school Michelle worked in Arica, Chile as a social worker with Jesuit Volunteers International, and in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina as an International Development Fellow with Catholic Relief Services. Michelle also worked in grant-writing for Human Rights Watch and recruitment for Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Michelle holds a Master’s degree in International Development from Fordham University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from St. Louis University.  

 

Ashley Coneys: Program Associate (aconeys@nylawhelp.org)

 

Maureen North: Americorps Vista Volunteer (mnorth@nylawhelp.org)

What we Do:

Read this in: Spanish / Español

Helping to increase access to justice for low-income New Yorkers

Did you know?

  • Constitutional guarantee of a lawyer does not apply to people fighting civil injustices, essential matters of personal safety, economic security, and family support that can threaten basic survival.  These include legal problems such as: unlawful evictions, denial of benefits, or access to health services, etc. 
  • More than 61 million poor people are eligible for civil legal aid, studies estimate that 80% of serious legal needs of low-income people go unmet due to grossly insufficient financing.
  • The U.S. ranks 66th out of 98 countries in access to and affordability of civil legal services.
  • Although growth caseloads have added pressure on the courts, many of the parties facing economic and family-related crises are low-income and do not have legal representation.
  • 95% of litigants are unrepresented in eviction, consumer credit and child support cases statewide and 44% of homeowners appearing in foreclosure cases throughout New York State are unrepresented.
  • More than 2.3 million New Yorkers annually are unrepresented in civil legal proceedings in New York State courts, and civil legal services providers - at best -  are meeting only 20% of need because of a lack of resources

Within this unfortunate reality, LawHelpNY enables low-income people facing legal challenges that affect the necessities of life, find legal help through identifying the free legal services programs that can assist them, and by providing self-help and know your rights resources when necessary but especially for those facing a legal crisis without an attorney. 

We accomplish this through a unique program consisting of (1) Innovative Technology Strategies and our (2) Training & Information, community outreach program. 

I. Innovative Technologies Strategies include:

  • Researching, developing, and maintaining an extensive library of "Know Your Rights" resources, information about legal aid program, and more in English, Spanish, and other languages. 
  • LawHelpNY’s online chat program called “LiveHelp” (available in English and Spanish) has provided low-income New Yorkers, including those with low literacy, limited English proficiency or lack of comfort online, with the legal information that can help them.  Since then, LiveHelp has helped approximately 18,000 low-income New Yorkers access vitally needed legal information.
  • Mapping and Data Visualizations,  we use these for data advocacy, increase community awareness, and empower local community groups with a tool they can use for their own work. Click here to view our 3-1-1 Heating Complaints interactive map.
  • Working with legal aid and tech partners to develop online interactive forms that help low-income New Yorkers fill out court form they can print out and use in court.  For our full list of online interactive forms, click here.

II. Training & Information Program--Statewide! (TIPS!) provides four core services:

  1. LawHelp/NY Training Program: educates nonprofits and other community groups on how to use LawHelp.org/NY to better serve their clients by connecting them with vital civil legal services.  
  2. Summer Community “Street” Outreach: targets the LawHelpNY.org end-user by having our outreach staffs participate in community events which will put them in direct contact with our target population.
  3. Targeted Online Outreach and Technology-Enabled Assistance: We utilize the power of digital technology to promote access to justice and make it easier for our users to find our resources. Post-Sandy we have developed innovative strategies for delivering technology enabled disaster assistance which have been featured nationally.  In addition, we run two plain-language legal information and news blogs in English and Spanish: RealNY andRealNYEspanol.
  4. Legal Technology and Access to Justice Education: Provide free instructional workshops, webinars, and toolkits to help nonprofits launch their own search engine and social media optimization strategies.  Our workshops and webinars also cover a wide range of tools, tips, and resources to help those without legal assistance put their best food forward in Court.
To read testimonials from organizations and individuals who have used LawHelpNY, click hereLawHelpNY: Stories from the Community

For more information, email us at: info@nylawhelp.org.

LawHelp/NY has received generous support from: