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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.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

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


You should check with your local Law firms that handle injury or negligence. Try the firms that give you free consultations. Cases are time sensitive. Meaning you only have a certain amount of time if you are trying to sue them. Your child may have problems with her back in the future because of the fall. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. As far as your other children are concerned, you should check with schools in the area that offer the same services. You may decide to transfer them after a period of time. Good luck

tax problem with irs & state

I have an on going problem with the irs they have been garnishing my check fir the past year in a half due to back unfail unpaid for year of 05 06 07 08 serious problem and now state is call for a warrant need help.


Hello, I am a single father with two children. I have partial custody of my daughter. However I haven't seen my son since last year July. His first birthday was 04/13/16 and I wasn't able to see him neither. I have been through two lawyers so far and they both have not been able to help my situation. I have been in and out of court every month since September of last year to no prevail.My son mother was married while I was dating her. Therefore, I have no rights to my son. In order for me to be granted visitation I would need to take a paternity test. I finally got her husband served, for paternity, but my lawyer is charging me ridiculous and fraudulent prices and is requiring more money to continue this case. More than the first lawyer. I have run out of money, but I want to continue my case because I feel I have a better chance now that her husband is served. I am in desperate need of an affordable lawyer. Can someone please help. I am dying to have a relationship with my son. I feel like everyone is taking advantage of me because I am desperate. My son's mother reasoning for alienating my child, is because I wouldn't change his last and middle name now that we are apart. I am in desperate need of help. Thanking you in advance


I am in Dialyz since 6years I am separate with my wife one year ago my wife she has a doctorate in nursing she is working as nursing teacher I have a very low income I go to the center 3 times every week for treatment 4 hours each time before I take my son an my family now my wife doesn't want me to get any contact with my son. I don't know what to do please help me


I am in Dialyz since 6years I am separate with my wife one year ago my wife she has a doctorate in nursing she is working as nursing teacher I have a very low income I go to the center 3 times every week for treatment 4 hours each time before I take my son an my family now my wife doesn't want me to get any contact with my son. I don't know what to do please help me

Information about studing in New york while we are stanger

Hello, i am a touriste from africa. I would like to know about any legal assistance that can provide me some informations regarding the legal and normal procedure to stay in New and get the chance to study . Thank you for the assistance.


my uncle taking care of kids father not in the picture he want to adopt my kids i want to know how to go about it.

living abroad and facing a housing court eviction in ny

I am wondering how I can find free or low-cost legal representation to help me settle with a landlord who wants to evict my roommate from an apartment since I am no longer residing there. We just want to settle a time when she can move out and be able to settle at the court date next month instead of going to trial.

Divorce ammendment

I have questions about amendments of a final divorce decree. Is it at all possible and under what circumstances? Also if possible,how can it be filed from another state?

Landlord / Tenant

I have an upcoming trial for my landlord/tenant case. The case is holdover. I withheld the rent due to severe harassment from super and some of neighbors. I am tired of being hung up in the case and would like to settle. Is it too late to ask the Landlord to settle given that its a holdover. I would just like to pay what they say I owe and move out in 30 days. Is it possible to do that once a trial has already been set? Thank you.


In housing court they have different organizations that help tenant free of charge, they provide attorneys that handle non-payments and holdover. Check the Court help center they are open everyday from 9 to 4 PM. Good luck,

Sued by the landlord

I live in NYC, my landlord sued me in Westchester county Supreme Court torts case, stating that I damaged the apartment and I harass him , He didn't sue me in NYC Housing Court but in Westchester county place of business. I cannot afford an attorney , how I can find an attorney for this torts case. Thank you,

Adult adoption

Hi, I like to adopt my orphan nephew who is 19. I'm retired low income and need help to do in New York City. Any recommendation to get help with paperwork as it is a simple adoption case, especially that I was my nehew's legal guardian since he was 9 years old. I want him to benefit from my retirement in case ...

Divorce on low income

My husband and I have been seperated for 2 years residing to two seperate states ..we have one child age 10 and neither of us have the financial income to pay for a divorce right now ..there's no conflict between us at this point . We both just want to get the divorce done ..But with low income what are our options ?

Hey my baby's father is

Hey my baby's father is currently fighting a case . He's been in jail without sentence for a year and five months now. He has bail money he just needs a good affordable lawyer and we can pay upfront ..please help.

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