Last updated: November 14, 2013
Do you have a legal issue, but can’t afford to hire an attorney? There are many free or low-cost legal service options for residents in New York’s Capital District. The main ways are through legal assistance programs such as the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York a nonprofit organization providing free legal aid to low-income residents and seniors, or through law school clinics. There may be income limits that apply for you to qualify for free/low-cost help. Contact the specific agency to learn more. Below is a list of several organizations available to help you in Albany County.
Areas of Law: Discrimination, Election and Voting, Freedom Speech, Freedom of Religion, Immigration Rights, LGBT Rights, Privacy, Police Practices, Jail and Prison Conditions, and other issues of fair treatment by government.
Good to Know: The ACLU does not usually assist in the following types of cases: criminal defense or post-conviction appeals, divorce or child custody disputes, property disputes, tax problems, workers compensation issues, consumer complaints, landlord-tenant disputes, building code issues and complaints about lawyers or judges.
Areas of Law: Civil
Good to Know: This organization provides free legal services to those who qualify. They do not handle criminal law cases.
Areas of Law: Civil, Children, Disability, Domestic Violence, Elder Law, Family, Foreclosure Prevention, HIV/AIDS, Immigration, Health Care, Tax, and Senior Issues.
Good to Know: This office offers services for residents of Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties. They offer free advice/legal counsel, brief services, self-help clinics, community legal education, and referrals, as well as full representation in administrative hearings and county, state, and federal courts. They do not assist with any criminal cases. Call for details.
Areas of Law: Education, Family, Health, Housing, Personal Safety, and Public Benefits.
Good to Know: The New York State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Appeals Program provides free representation to litigants of modest means in selected appeals to the Appellate Division, Third and Fourth Judicial Departments.
Areas of Law: Criminal, Prisoners
Good to Know: This group provides legal rights and criminal justice information and will assist with limited legal and criminal justice complaints. They do not provide direct representation. They run a reentry program for those returning to the community, but they do not have housing.
Areas of Law: Disability Rights, Abuse, Neglect, Public Benefits, Discrimination
Good to Know: This agency provides legal protection and advocacy to people with disabilities including legal advice and direct representation.
Areas of Law: Bankruptcy, Domestic Violence, Family law, Housing, Sexual Assault, Wills
Good to Know: This is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides a variety of free legal services to the working poor, victims of domestic violence and other people who need legal help. The clinic operates at various locations. Call to learn more.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Immigration, Naturalization
Good to Know: Catholic Charities of Albany provides a wide range of immigration-related legal services.
Areas of Law: Guardianship, Probate, Money Management, Neglect/Abuse, and Medicaid Financial Planning
Good to Know: This organization provides information and referrals, tax and legal advice, adult day program, home-delivered meals, and senior commuter service to area residents 60 years of age and older.
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Disability, Domestic Violence Prosecution, Family Law, Health, Tax
Good to Know: The Law School offers direct representation in a limited number of cases. Click here for detailed directions. Appointments must be scheduled by telephone. They do not assist walk-in clients.