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New York StateUnified Court System

Finding Legal Assistance

In General

Lawsuits should be taken seriously. If you are, or may be, a party in our court we strongly suggest that you consult an attorney to fully determine your legal rights and the best way of handling your legal problem. The court provides some resources to represent yourself, but court staff cannot give you legal advice.

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Finding a Lawyer

Free Lawyers for Tenants
Under the law, low-income tenants can get a free lawyer from start to finish in their case. You can use the interactive guide to see if you qualify.

Assigned Counsel Project
The Assigned Counsel Project (ACP) helps seniors at risk for eviction by providing free legal and social work services to help resolve their Housing Court cases. To be eligible for the program, seniors must be 60 of age or older, have an identifiable social service need, and a pending Housing Court case.

To find information on free legal services programs visit LawHelp and type in your zip code or the county you live in. On the next screen select your type of legal problem. On the next screen select your subtopic. Scroll down and read the eligibility requirements for the legal services organizations listed to see if you qualify. Click on the names of the organizations to learn more and where to go for help.

Legal Referral Service
If you can afford to pay a lawyer, but do not know how to find one, you can try the Legal Referral Service of the New York City Bar Association. The Legal Referral Service will refer you to a lawyer in the New York metropolitan area who will charge a $35.00 consultation fee for the first half-hour. If you decide to hire the lawyer after this consultation, you and the lawyer will work out the fee that you will pay. You can find the Legal Referral Service on the City Bar website or call them at 917-832-1927.

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Free Legal Consultations

There are also a couple of programs that offer free consultations regardless of your income. The lawyers in these programs will provide you with legal advice, but will not represent you in court or file papers on your behalf. You are responsible for meeting all court dates and for all filing deadlines.

Volunteer Lawyer Program
The Civil Court of the City of New York runs a Volunteer Lawyer Program located in the Civil Court’s Help Centers. The trained volunteer lawyers provide free legal and procedural information and advice. The volunteer lawyers will review your court papers, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your individual case, help you fill out forms, and assist you in creating a plan to defend or prosecute your case. Visit the Volunteer Lawyers Program page for the program calendar or contact the Help Center in your area to find out if a volunteer lawyer is available.

City Bar Legal Hotline
The City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Hotline, 212-626-7383, is staffed by attorneys who assist low income callers on a range of issues, including housing law. The hotline is staffed Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The hotline is closed from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily. Hotline attorneys speak English and Spanish and can take calls in any language using a interpreting service.