Becoming a Client: Frequently Asked Questions
Is my organization eligible for legal assistance?
Lawyers Alliance represents a wide range of community development and not-for-profit organizations, from well-established multi-service providers to emerging community-based groups. To be eligible for our legal services, the not-for-profit organization (or an organization seeking not-for-profit status) must serve low-income individuals or communities in New York City.
We evaluate requests for legal assistance on a case-by-case basis. Among the factors we consider are: the organization's mission, the legal need, whether the organization is unable to pay for market-rate legal services without impairing programs, and whether we can identify appropriate attorneys to do the work.
How does my organization apply for legal assistance?
Prospective new clients must first complete and submit the Request for Legal Assistance Form. If your organization is eligible for legal assistance and appears to have a legal need that we can satisfy, we will invite you to an introductory client screening meeting with a staff attorney to discuss the organization and its legal needs. After the meeting, if your organization is accepted as a client, we will determine whether your legal matter is better suited for pro bono counsel or exclusively by our in-house staff attorneys.
If your organization is a current or former client with a new legal need, please contact your assigned staff attorney or our Program Associate for Client Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 219-1800 x 278. Click here for a staff list.
How much do you charge?
Our services are either free or low-cost, thanks to the generosity of our volunteers and financial supporters.
Our fee for new clients is $475 (for organizations that seek legal assistance with incorporation and/or applying for tax exemption, $575). The fee covers a portion of our costs in reviewing applications for legal assistance, placing legal matters, and co-counseling. Payment is due when your organization is accepted as a client, not with the application. (Fees updated July 2015)
Pro bono legal work: For most legal matters, Lawyers Alliance matches clients with pro bono attorneys, with our staff attorneys serving as co-counsel. There is no additional charge to clients for the legal services that pro bono attorneys provide.
In-house legal work: When Lawyers Alliance staff attorneys perform all or a substantial part of the legal work, we typically charge $200-$300/hour or a transaction-based fee, depending on the matter.
In some cases, Lawyers Alliance can use dedicated outside funding from a foundation or government agency to cover the client's legal fees.
The client is responsible for any filing, search, or court fees incurred.