Legal Services NYC (LSNYC)

Organized 1967, the largest organization exclusively devoted to providing free civil legal services in the US, with offices in every borough of NYC. Changed name to Legal Services NYC in 2007. Acronym is LSNY.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: New York
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: LSNYC
Lists: LSC

Legal Services NYC—the largest organization exclusively devoted to providing free civil legal services in the United States, with neighborhood offices in every borough of New York City—is made up of passionate attorneys and staff who provide their clients—single moms, workers with disabilities, seniors, and others—with a comprehensive approach to solving their legal problems and getting them back on their feet.

We provide high quality free legal help on cases involving housing, family, domestic violence, public benefits, income tax, employment, education, immigration, and consumer rights. We also help the most vulnerable people in our society – children not receiving their child support, victims of domestic violence, people with AIDS and HIV and elderly citizens facing eviction and unsafe living conditions.

Legal Services NYC’s distinctive structure allows us to serve New York City’s low-income community on the local level, but with the full resources of a city-wide organization that comprises the largest provider of free civil legal services in the U.S.A.

Our offices and outreach centers are rooted in the distinct communities that they serve so that they can identify and be responsive to local needs and conditions of their communities.



How to save families from losing everything

Martha Bergmark, Thomas E. Perez
July 27, 2015
There is a resource for our communities that does not receive enough attention, yet is critical to ensuring that families not only stay afloat but move up the economic ladder: civil legal aid.

News Story

A Slack Lifeline for Drowning Homeowners

Gretchen Morgenson
New York Times (NYT)
July 31, 2015
How civil legal aid lawyers are fighting for homeowners against the banks.

News Story

Bronx tenants accuse landlord of illegal rent increases designed to force them out

Barbara Ross, Rikki Reyna
New York Daily News
August 10, 2015
Eighteen residents say in a lawsuit that the building’s owner has raised their rents illegally. The increases are designed to force them out of their gentrifying neighborhood.

News Story

City Councilmen Blast Banks for Refusing to Abide by Federal Foreclosure Mandates

Kim Velsey
New York Observer
August 19, 2015
City Councilmember Rory Lancman said that banks frequently delay foreclosure conferences to modify homeowners’ loans or show up unprepared.

News Story

New York City takes on evictions

Noel King
October 16, 2015
Legal help is crucial for New Yorkers who don't understand the complexities of the city's housing law. As many protections as there are for renters, there are ways of trying to get around them.

News Story

Housing activists fight to keep elevator working for sick Manhattan man

Victoria Bekiempis
New York Daily News
January 8, 2016
A Chinatown landlord’s construction plans could trap a terminally ill man in his apartment for five months a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court alleges.

News Story

At the Margins: Poor LGBT People Face Increased Legal Aid Needs

Rebecca McCray
January 19, 2016
A new survey of low-income LGBT New Yorkers exposes the need for better legal services.

News Story

Evictions Are Down by 18%; New York City Cites Increased Legal Services

Mireya Navarro
New York Times (NYT)
February 29, 2016
Evictions in New York City dropped last year to their lowest level in a decade. Efforts to provide more civil legal aid to renters cited as one reason that is preventing New Yorkers from becoming homeless.

News Story

New York to Pay Thousands to 10 Tenants Purged From Rent Freeze Program

Nikita Stewart
New York Times (NYT)
March 7, 2016
New York City has agreed to pay $130,000 in legal fees and damages to 10 older or disabled residents who said they were unfairly removed from the Rent Freeze Program after their spouses or parents died.

News Story

Brooklyn Supreme Court faces backlog of nearly 12,000 foreclosure cases in the hands of just three judges

Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News
March 8, 2016
Foreclosures have mushroomed into more than a third of all civil cases in New York state courts. Lawyers and advocates say this Brooklyn courtroom has become a prime example of a new “assembly line” approach to justice.

News Story

Landlord Cuts Cooking Gas To Force Out Elderly Tenants, Lawyers Say

Allegra Hobbs
DNAinfo (NYC and Chicago)
March 24, 2016
A landlord is trying to push out a handful of elderly rent-stabilized tenants by depriving them of cooking gas after harassing them with buyout offers did not do the job, say residents.

News Story

Non-bank servicers creating bigger mortgage problems

Catherine Curan
New York Post
April 16, 2016
Sources say that many of the same old problems the NMS partially sought to address are back with the nonbank servicers, including long delays in reviewing loan modifications and wrongful denials of loan modification requests.

News Story

Officials Were Warned of Trouble With NYPD Lockout Orders, And Then Police Kicked Out Wrong Family

Sarah Ryley
New York Daily News, ProPublica
May 2, 2016
A letter from legal groups to the New York City’s Law Department warned city officials that “vulnerable tenants” are often ensnared in nuisance abatements.

News Story

Emigrant Savings Bank Discriminated Against Minorities, Brooklyn Jury Says

Alan Feuer
New York Times (NYT)
June 27, 2016
A federal jury in Brooklyn found on Monday that the Emigrant Savings Bank had discriminated against eight minority homeowners by purposefully marketing to them subprime mortgages.

News Story

How Banks Stole Homes From the Most Vulnerable New Yorkers

Michelle Chen
Nation, The
July 15, 2016
Reverse redlining flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.

News Story

Foreclosures Drop in New York and New Jersey as Courts Pick Up Pace

Josh Barbanel
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
August 3, 2016
The foreclosure crisis that gripped the U.S. since 2008 has eased in many states, but it has persisted in New York and New Jersey because of the slow pace of their foreclosure processes through the courts. Now there are signs of change.

News Story

Beware of Tactics Landlords Use to Evict Rent-Stabilized Tenants

Amy Zimmer, Jeanmarie Evelly
DNAinfo (NYC and Chicago)
October 25, 2016
While the de Blasio administration has increased funding for free legal services for tenants, lawyers working with low-income New Yorkers say that isn't solving the problem, citing the arsenal of strategies landlords can use to evict rent-stabilized tenants.

News Story

Student loan borrowers share tales of woe with regulators

Jillian Berman
October 27, 2016
Advocates organized the event earlier this week to bring attention to the plight of borrowers like Carter to federal and state regulators.

News Story

Foreclosure Prevention Returns to the Unknown

Stacy Cowley
New York Times (NYT)
January 25, 2017
After an eight-year run, a troubled government effort to prevent foreclosures and keep struggling borrowers in their homes came to an end last month. What happens next will be laboratory experiment.

News Story

Banks Can’t Wait to Wipe This Complaints Database

Shahien Nasiripour
February 8, 2017
A seemingly benign catalogue of consumer complaints is one of banks' biggest gripes.

News Story

New York Courts Are Failing Non-English Speakers

Michelle Chen
Nation, The
February 16, 2017
Nearly three-fourths of surveyed legal-aid attorneys reported some of their cases had been adjourned due to lack of language services.

News Story

Foreclosure Help for Homeowners Under Threat, Advocates Warn

Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo (NYC and Chicago)
March 7, 2017
Funding for the 32 legal aid and nonprofits in the city that provide free help to homeowners needing loan modifications or other assistance may soon disappear.

News Story

Legal services in unprecedented danger under Trump’s budget proposal

Tom McCarthy
March 16, 2017
Budget proposal includes cuts to organization that helps clients fight negligent landlords and domestic violence, in addition to 18 other small budget agencies.


A lawyer makes a difference for a day in Brooklyn housing court

Mark Chiusano
March 24, 2017
Particularly if the tenants don’t have a lawyer. Landlords are represented over 90 percent of the time, and often don’t show up in person. Slightly more than 25 percent of tenants lawyer up, meaning many come in person to argue their own cases.

News Story

New York Courts Struggle to Keep Up With Need to Interpret More Languages

Thomas MacMillan
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
April 18, 2017
The challenge is growing to provide translations for more than 100 languages in New York City.

News Story

Police Must Tackle Language Barrier in Domestic Abuse Cases

Ashley Southall
New York Times (NYT)
May 25, 2017
In a city where more than half the 8.5 million residents speak a language other than English at home, and one in four struggles to communicate in English, it is common for a crime victim to be met by police officers who do not understand the victim’s language.

News Story

Bronx Landlord Who Got Millions In Tax Breaks Sued For Illegally Raising Rents

Steven Wishnia
Village Voice (NY)
May 26, 2017
Tenants in a Bronx low-income building that has received almost $3.2 million in 421-a tax breaks are suing their landlord, accusing it of charging more than $80,000 in illegal rent increases.

News Story

New York Becomes First City to Guarantee Lawyers to Tenants Facing Eviction

Ashley Dejean
Mother Jones
August 11, 2017
Low-income New Yorkers will soon have legal protection against their landlords.

News Story

New York City Guarantees a Lawyer to Every Resident Facing Eviction

Kriston Capps
August 14, 2017
The new law protecting low-income tenants is the first in the nation.


They Lost Their Homes. Now A Reality TV Star Is Selling Them

Lisa Riordan Seville
December 20, 2017
Behind the scenes of Million Dollar Listing New York are black and Latino families who lost their homes in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.

News Story

City Tackles Roll-Out of Right to Counsel in Housing Court

Abigail Savitch-Lew
City Limits
January 17, 2018
n February 2017, after years of tenant advocacy, Mayor de Blasio made the announcement that New York City would become the first city in the nation to invest in universal access to counsel for low-income tenants in housing court.

News Story

Proposed Cuts to Civil Legal Services Will Deny Courtroom Justice to the Poor

Eleanor J. Bader
March 11, 2018
Last year -- fiscal 2018 -- Trump identified the Legal Services Corporation as one of 19 organizations to be completely eliminated.


An Immigration Lawyer On What Really Happens To Women Seeking Asylum

Terry Lawson
June 22, 2018
Jeff Sessions recently undermined asylum protections for domestic violence survivors. Before he made that call, here's how one woman pleaded her case.

News Story

Racial discrimination suit filed against Urby in federal court

Paul Liotta
Staten Island Advance
July 13, 2018
All three of the complainants claim they were issued notices, and threatened with eviction despite having done nothing wrong, according to a civil complaint.

News Story is introducing a service for suing your landlord

Sarina Trangle
December 10, 2018
The nonprofit's Tenant App focuses on compelling owners to make repairs in rent-regulated units.

News Story

Eviction on Trial

Soni Sangha
U.S. News & World Report
January 22, 2019
Cities from New York to Minneapolis are providing free attorneys to low-income tenants facing eviction.

News Story

Report: NYC evictions decline sharply as result of new Right to Counsel law

Brick Underground
March 26, 2019
A new report measures the effectiveness of a one-year-old NYC law that guarantees low-income tenants an attorney when facing an eviction in housing court.

News Story

Evictions down in areas where tenants get free lawyers: analysis

Ryan Deffenbaugh
Crain’s New York Business
March 27, 2019
A city program that provides free lawyers to low-income tenants in housing court has helped cut down on evictions, according to a new analysis by advocates for the program.

News Story

Evictions Down From Harlem To Hollis In Areas Where Tenants Get Free Lawyers

Harlem World Magazine
March 26, 2019
A city program that provides free lawyers to low-income tenants in housing court has helped cut down on evictions, according to a new analysis by advocates for the program.

News Story

Report: ‘Right to Counsel’ law helped reduce evictions

Janaki Chadha
Politico New York
March 25, 2019
A city law that expanded legal representation for low-income tenants in housing court has been effective in reducing evictions, according to a new Community Service Society report.

News Story

Advocates credit new ‘Right to Counsel’ law with large drop in evictions

Michelle Cohen
March 27, 2019
The law is currently in effect in 20 New York City zip codes and will be implemented citywide by 2022. According to the report, 60 percent of the people who were able to remain in their homes in 2018 despite eviction proceedings benefited from legal representation under the new law.

News Story

Brooklyn tenants sue landlord, allege harassment, no heat and illegal Airbnb rentals

Michael Gartland
New York Daily News
April 30, 2019
Ten tenants in three rent-regulated Brooklyn apartment buildings are suing their landlords with the help of Brooklyn Legal Services over "degrading" conditions.

News Story

DOE Failed To Protect Students From Sexual Assaults, Lawsuit Alleges

Jessica Gould
April 30, 2019
A new lawsuit filed this week accuses the NYC Department of Education of failing to protect students against sexual assaults, file official complaints, conduct proper investigations, and support survivors dealing with trauma.

News Story

Immigrants Avoiding State Courts, Legal Services Due to ICE Presence, Report Says

Dan M. Clark
New York Law Journal
April 10, 2019
The report, released by a coalition of public defenders, civil legal services providers and others, called on the Office of Court Administration to immediately promulgate a rule requiring those officers to obtain a federal judicial arrest warrant before entering state courts to make an arrest.


‘Someone To Speak For You’: Low-Income Tenants Get Lawyers For Housing Court

Jenifer McKim
National Public Radio (NPR)
April 3, 2019
The right to counsel program, signed into law in 2017, is meant to address the legal disparity in a city where historically only one in 10 tenants in housing court had a lawyer, while most landlords had legal representation.

News Story

Leveling the Legal Playing Field: Tenants Fight for Homes with the Help of Right to Counsel

Hibah Ansari
Bronx Ink
October 22, 2019
Right to Counsel gives power back to tenants, especially as they face landlords represented by powerful law firms, according to Heejung Kook, the housing unit deputy director for Legal Services NYC.

News Story

As Rents Rise, Cities Strengthen Tenants’ Ability to Fight Eviction

Laura Kusisto
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
December 26, 2019
Half-a-dozen cities from San Francisco to Cleveland are promising tenants the right to an attorney in eviction cases, a costly and logistically daunting initiative that advocates say is a necessary response to rising housing costs and homelessness.

News Story

Coronavirus could overwhelm legal help for America’s poor

Todd Ruger
Roll Call
March 31, 2020

News Story

Immigration Judges And Lawyers Say Their Lives Are At Risk, As NYC Court Remains Open

Beth Fertig
Gothamist (NYC), WNYC (NY)
March 12, 2020

Feature , News Story


Tina Vasquez
April 9, 2020


The Storm Within The Storm: How Domestic Violence Victims Can Survive COVID-19

Veronica Wells
April 10, 2020

News Story

Your small business got a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Now what?

Greg Iacurci
April 22, 2020

Audio , Interview , News Story

COVID-19 Has Created A Legal Aid Crisis. FEMA’s Usual Response Is Missing

Rebecca Hersher
National Public Radio (NPR)
May 11, 2020

News Story

Going To Court Without A Lawyer Was Always Hard. The Pandemic Has Made It Much Harder.

Zoe Tillman
May 15, 2020

News Story

As New York Landlords Push Buyouts, Renters Resist

Mireya Navarro
New York Times (NYT)
July 9, 2014
Mireya Navarro's article looks at how buyouts are becoming more prevalent on the housing market and their usage as illegal harassment.

Blog Post

Language Access Projects Crucial to Making Legal Services Accessible

Lonnie A. Powers
Huffington Post
May 22, 2014
Language access is crucial explains Lonnie Powers, as many people with limited English skills struggle to navigate the justice system.


An Uphill Battle for Legal Services in Brooklyn

Eleanor J. Bader
Brooklyn Rail
March 5, 2014
"The biggest challenge, says Raun Rasmussen, executive director of LS-NYC, is in figuring out how to serve the largest number of people despite ongoing budgetary shortfalls.

News Story

After Suing, Tenant Comes Home to the Brooklyn Apartment She Was Made to Leave

Julie Satow
New York Times (NYT)
December 22, 2014
With the help of a civil legal aid attorney, Tranquilina Alvillar was able to move back into the apartment on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, three years after she was illegally driven out by a landlord who wanted more lucrative tenants.


40 Years of Delivering Equal Justice Under the Law

New York Law Journal
October 1, 2014
Op-ed by Raun Rasmussen, executive director of Legal Services of New York City, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Legal Services Corporation.

This page last modified: Tue, July 28, 2015 -- 10:27 am ET