LeGaL believes that the true test of any community is the extent to which it takes care of its members in times of collective struggle for justice, as well as in the seemingly ordinary struggles of our daily lives.
To that end, LeGaL seeks the creation and expansion of legal services initiatives which provide meaningful consultations, referrals, and representation where possible, to members of our community.
LeGaL is uniquely positioned as a point of entry into the legal system for community members because of our many clinics, helpline, and online inquiries. This gives LeGaL the chance to be at the forefront of cutting edge issues that impact our community like recognition and respect for LGBTQ families. We endeavor to identify litigants with compelling cases that may have a wider impact for our community, and represent them in co-counseling arrangements with law firms or legal services organizations.
LeGaL proudly fights to protect and advance the LGBTQ community’s rights by authoring or joining amicus-briefs in critically important issues. Below are a sample of amicus briefs LeGaL has authored or joined.
Our advocacy efforts also focus on a host of legislative initiatives, such as supporting the enactment of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), calling for inclusive and non-discriminatory amendments to Rules of the New York Unified Court System, calling for a ban on the so-called gay/trans-panic defenses, and much more.
LeGaL endeavors to provide meaningful legal services through various fee drop-in legal clinics, which offer holistic consultations and referrals to members of the LGBTQ community. Attorney volunteers help with any number of legal issues, including housing, immigration, family law matters, criminal issues, employment, discrimination, and more.
In 2017, LeGaL proudly operated five 100% free walk-in legal clinics: our weekly Tuesday Night Clinic at the LGBT Center in Manhattan, our weekly Saturday night "Youth Clinic" for LGBTQ youth, monthly clinics in conjunction with SAGE in both the Bronx and Harlem, and our newest clinic in Newark, N.J. Hundreds of clinic visitors received knowledgeable information and advice, as well as, wherever possible, immediate referrals through LeGaL's Legal Referral Network.
LeGaL's Helpline, which fields legal inquiries and provides information about our walk-in clinics, experienced a surge in calls from LGBTQ community in 2017, with nearly 2,000 requests for legal assistance.
Helpline/Clinic Inquiries by Practice Areas