Last updated: September 27, 2013
Long Island is about more than just iced tea, parkways, and the characters we inspire on television. It's not the reluctant home of the "bridge and tunnel" crowd: it's a community, and a thriving one at that. As such, Long Island has many organizations and attorneys whose mission is to help our fellow citizens by providing free or low cost legal services. Whether in Nassau or Suffolk county, there are plenty of resources to help you with your legal fight. Here is a guide on how to get started and how to find the various forms of aid available to you.
When you're just starting out looking for assistance with your legal issues, there are several places you can begin. For the best use of your time, it might be helpful to begin your quest with either the courts or the Nassau-Suffolk Law Services Committee.
The courts on Long Island have many resources in place to help pro se litigants--people representing themselves. Information for all New York sate courts is available online at www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/. You'll find do-it-yourself forms, answers to law questions, and more. Visit FindLaw for a description of Nassau County courthouses and Suffolk County courthouses.
Nassau-Suffolk Law Services Committee is another great resource for starting out because its a large organization. This group features a wide range of legal services including direct representation (where a lawyer is assigned to your case), counseling and information, self-help materials, and referrals to other support agencies. NSLS covers many areas of the law including landlord-tenant, domestic violence, disability rights, foreclosures, and more. Visit the NSLS website for more informaiton
Legal Aid Society ("LAS") provides free representation to individuals who are charged with crimes in Nassau County Court and Nassau County District Court. Services are for people cannot afford an attorney. LAS also represents clients with family court matters having to do with child support and custody. You cannot choose LAS: a judge has to appoint the organization. Visit the site for answers to common questions.
The Volunteer Lawyers Project ("VLP") provides direct representation to clients who are of "modest means." Typically clients come in with divorce, bankruptcy, and landlord-tenant issues, but the program is flexible. The organization takes clients by appointment only.
This organization provides individual counseling and advocacy services relating to landlord-tenant, foreclosure, discrimination, and other isues relating to housing. The office is near the MacArthur Airport where the Veterans Memorial Highway meets Johnson Avenue. See the website for directions.
This organization provides direct, in-court representation on immigration matters. They provide service in multiple languages. Services are open to all immigrants. Fees are based on your ability to pay.
You can call the lawyer referral service's phone number. The service will provide you with an attorney's name and contact information for a $50 initial half hour consultation. After that, fees will be worked out between you and the attorney.
Call or email the LRIS for a referral. Visit the website for a list of legal areas in which LRIS attorneys specialize.