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How to Find Free or Low Cost Legal Services in New York City


United States Court House interior - court room 1105,40 Centre Street - Foley Square, Digital ID 1557842, New York Public LibraryUnited States Court House interior - court room 1105,40 Centre Street - Foley Square, Digital ID 1557842, New York Public LibraryThese services are generally available only to those of limited financial means. However, there are also certain legal services that are available for those of moderate means. If you are a person of limited financial means who faces a civil legal issue — one that is not a criminal offense — certainly the most comprehensive source of information about your legal rights is Its assistance is also available in Spanish at If you click on words, terms or agencies on this website, you will encounter a variety of providers of legal assistance to tenants, consumers, senior citizens, small business owners and victims of discrimination. Certain organizations specialize in providing legal assistance to persons who encounter specific problems with the law. A very partial list of these organizations would include:

Civil and Other Actions

Telephone Help: Another immediate source of free legal advice for income for New York City residents in English or in Spanish is the New York City Bar's Legal Hotline that operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at: 212-626-7383. And another excellent source of information for those of low income facing civil or criminal issues is The Legal Aid Society of New York and you may telephone that organization in English or in Spanish at: 212-577-3300.

If you wish to research the law yourself, a great deal of New York legal research may be conducted at The Science, Industry and Business Library of The New York Public Library.

How is "Limited Means" defined by those who provide legal services to New York City residents?

The various providers of legal services to the indigent generally define this by the use of specific "Income Guidelines" that — in an attempt to recognize the high cost of living in New York City — are often set at 125% or 187.5% or 200% of what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determines are the 2012 poverty guidelines.

"Moderate Means" There has also been an effort by The New York City Bar Association Justice Center and other organizations to provide people of moderate means with greater access to legal assistance with certain family law issues, home mortgage foreclosures and certain issues confronting small business owners.

Criminal Actions

Court House. --New York.,Stereoscopic Gems of New York & Vicinity., Digital ID g91f199_020f, New York Public LibraryCourt House. --New York.,Stereoscopic Gems of New York & Vicinity., Digital ID g91f199_020f, New York Public LibraryEvery person charged with a crime of consequence in the State of New York has the right to an attorney. In the Unified Court System of the State of New York and within the New York City Criminal Court the court may appoint an attorney to represent you. Many of those with limited financial resources charged with various criminal offenses at the state and city level are represented by members of The Legal Aid Society that has branches in all five boroughs.

In certain cases, the court may also appoint a lawyer under a program commonly known as "18B." A variety of other organizations also provide free or low cost representation to criminal defendants including in Manhattan the New York County Defender Services, Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defenders and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers maintains a Directory of other organizations that represent indigent defendants.

At certain times an attorney in private practice may be appointed or otherwise represent a criminal defendant "pro bono" — that is, in the public interest and not for a fee. If you are charged with a federal crime, the federal district court or appellate court may appoint a member of the Federal Defenders of New York for the Southern and Eastern Districts that provides counsel to residents of all five boroughs.

The Correctional Services Program of the New York Public Library also provides a variety of books and other useful information to those who are currently incarcerated in federal, state and city facilities as well as Connections [PDF] to help the recently released seek work. also assists those who need to understand the civil consequences of a criminal charge or conviction.


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Court on Monday in Jamaica

Court on Monday in Jamaica queens for 6 point speeding ticket

family court

i m a patient and 70yrs old, my ex-wife suited me for family offense, accusing me threatening her.i have no income,we have a trial on January 15 in Jamaica, i m recommended by NY council Peter koo to come here ,perfer lawyer at no cost, and i m not fluent in english, perfer Cantonese, please help me

low cost family law help

Sorry you are having a rough time, I have been there and there is a group that can help at a very low cost. Go to the site and get help 866-326-3261

13 yrs fighting a case - person left to starve to death-HELP

13 yrs fighting a case - person left to starve to death-HELP

Child Custody

My husband is having a hard time with his daughters mother. He does everything for his daughters financially and keeps his kids every weekend. He is being threatened by her husband and being cursed out because he don't respond to the questions. he is trying to avoid and confrontation. He is trying to get visitation rights. He needs court ordered visitation and a order of protection from the husband. Please help, this has been going on for almost 2 years, we have contacted other lawyers but their fees are really expensive.

being Haressed by acs

These individuals do not stop they just keep harassing me all the time im a reserve soldier and I don't need there stress it is getting out of control with them.

Corporal punishment

I was trying to press charges on a teacher in my child school cause he tried to pick up my 150lbs child and take her to the office as he picked her up he dropped her on a lunch table in the cafeteria the school tride to cover it up...when the super intendent came she said he can no longer work in the cafeteria until the investigation was over this was in June of 2015 since the first day of school this year the principal put him back in the cafeteria to watch the students and the investigation is still not over my child doesn't want to eat in the cafeteria because he is still in there and my neighbor child is now in his class and he stated on the first day of school he hit a child what can I do about this cause since he has tenure the board of education still allows him to be around students is there anything I can do besides moving my child school because her other siblings need to stay in that school because of services given to them by the board of education....please help... this teacher and principal has to be accountable for their actions

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