Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® (LawNY®) is a not-for-profit law firm established to provide access to the justice system to community members who have civil legal problems. Through our seven offices, we serve 14 counties throughout Western New York, the largest service area compared to any other civil legal assistance office in New York State. We believe in fairness and access to justice for all, regardless of income. Unlike criminal cases in New York State, those with civil legal issues are not entitled to assigned counsel. As a result, more than 2.3 million New Yorkers each year navigate the State’s civil justice system alone.
Our Strategies - LawNY utilizes three main strategies to make justice as accessible as possible:
• Legal Advocacy - LawNY has been providing high-quality legal representation for over 50 years. While our services are always expanding, our core priorities remain intact.
Our 2020 cases were closed in the following practice areas: Housing (26.8%); Income Maintenance (26%); Family Law (22.4%); Health Law (13%); Miscellaneous Benefits (including wills, advanced care documents and filing waivers) (4.8%); Consumer Law (3.4%); Employment (2.6%); Individual Rights (0.8%); and Education (0.3%).
In 2020, LawNY closed a total of 4,881 cases, benefiting 10,532 Western New Yorkers.
• Information about Individual Rights - LawNY works to educate individuals through multiple avenues. If an individual does not have a case with our
office, we work to ensure that the individual receives proper self-help tools. In 2020, our website and self-help articles received nearly 1 million page views. In addition, our social media channels allowed our content to reach over 150,000 individual newsfeeds through following our pages and sharing our content.
• Community legal education - LawNY continues to provide community legal education to client groups to provide information about legal issues to help people recognize legal problems, understand their legal rights and responsibilities, take steps on their own to resolve problems, and know when to seek assistance. We also provide legal education to other human service providers from local agencies with the goal of giving them information that they can use to help their clients avoid problems and know when to refer to us. In 2020, we attended 632 outreach events, in which we reached 20,889 individuals.
LawNY recognizes the critical work of other community agencies and maintains standing partnerships with them to provide holistic assistance to those in need. We conduct outreach on a regular basis to inform individuals about our services and to connect with otherwise difficult to reach populations. LawNY also places an emphasis on training the staff of nonprofits and human services organizations, as well as our client population, on navigating government systems and advocating for the rights of individuals. We offer on-site legal services in several well-known community locations. We believe in a community lawyering model, which emphasizes empowering community members to let us know what services are needed in their communities. In Monroe County, we reach over 10,000 individuals annually through outreach and education efforts.
• Preservation of housing and housing-related needs, including assisting with housing discrimination cases, preventing evictions, and housing subsidy denials;
• Maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability;
• Ensuring the health and well being of clients and their families
• Meeting the legal needs of specific populations who may have increased barriers to accessing services such as veterans, seniors, children, reentering former offenders, victims of crime, individuals experiencing homelessness, and many more;
• Improving the quality of legal information and services available to low-income Western New Yorkers.
Visit lawny.org for more information and view our annual report to learn more about the people we serve and the scope of our work.
We focus on: Human Services, Community Benefit and Economic Development
Where we are: Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Yates
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