The Problem:

Civil legal problems, if unresolved, can seriously harm low-income communities and can result in forcing people out of their homes, separating families, or impose devastating financial burdens. Legal Hand neighborhood storefront centers respond by equipping community members with information to try to resolve their problems and prevent them from turning into legal actions. Legal Hand centers are easily accessible, welcome walk-ins, and do not require appointments.

How it Works: 

Legal Hand’s trained, non-lawyer volunteers operate out of neighborhood storefront centers in New York’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, providing free legal information, assistance, and referrals to residents. They provide information such as how to navigate the social services system, help people complete online legal forms, and draft form letters. Each Legal Hand center is managed by a volunteer coordinator, and a legal services attorney is also on-site to train and assist volunteers. 
 
Legal Hand is run by the Center for Court Innovation in collaboration with three legal services providers: The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC, and New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), and have storefront locations in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Brownsville, Brooklyn; and in Jamaica, Queens, where they are established in easy-to-find locations, have weekend and evening hours to accommodate community members’ work schedules, and are equipped with computers, internet access, and printers.