Legal Aid Society

Pro Bono & Volunteer Opportunities

Attorneys, law students, and other volunteers work in partnership with Legal Aid Society staff in order to expand our ability to provide legal services to a greater number of clients and communities.

All pro bono referrals have been screened by our attorneys and legal professionals who are experts in the field. Those same experts remain on the case to provide mentorship and guidance throughout the representation.

From The Staff of the Pro Bono Practice

We Draw Strength from You

Last year, over 2,700 volunteers donated 200,000 hours of legal assistance to the clients of The Legal Aid Society.

But no metrics can adequately quantify what pro bono assistance means to a family facing homelessness, a client whose rights are violated by unlawful police conduct, or a child in foster care whose educational needs are not being met.

For over 140 years The Legal Aid Society has worked together with the private bar to provide life changing legal assistance and deliver “Justice In Every Borough”.

The staff of The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Practice is:

Beth Hofmeister, Supervising Attorney
Rosemary Hare-Bey, Pro Bono Coordinator
Ivanna Guerra, Pro Bono Administrator
Lou Sartori, Chief Counsel

Time & Talent




hours of pro bono work

73 & 54

participating law firms & law schools.

2022 Pro Bono Honor Roll

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Coalition for the Homeless
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Dechert LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Gender Equality Law Center
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Krieger Kim & Lewin LLP
Loeb & Loeb LLP
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Milbank LLP
Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Pryor Cashman LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Selendy Gay Elsberg PLLC

Shearman & Sterling LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Starr Associates LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
White & Case LLP
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
WilmerHale LLP
Winston & Strawn LLP


The Honorable Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Publico & Public Service Law Firm Award

The Legal Aid Society is proud to recognize Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel for its exceptional pro bono commitment to our organization and clients.

Under the leadership of Board Member and Co-Managing Partner Paul H. Schoeman, along with Co-Managing Partner Howard T. Spilko, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Christopher S. Auguste and Aaron Frankel, and Director of Professional Development and Pro Bono Programs Jamie Porco, the attorneys, legal assistants, and administrative staff at Kramer Levin have been a committed partner in meeting the legal needs of the less fortunate in New York City. In the past year, dozens of firm staff have contributed nearly 3,000 hours of legal services to our clients, in areas ranging from immigration defense, bankruptcy, criminal appeals, business development for low-income entrepreneurs, and community justice programs.

Since 2010, for example, Kramer Levin has served as co-counsel in Smith v. Proud, a class action suit on behalf of public assistance recipients whose benefits were wrongfully reduced. In 2018, a settlement was reached that required the City and State to pay retroactive benefits to more than 49,000 eligible class members. When Kramer Levin and The Legal Aid Society discovered in July 2021 that the government had failed to issue payments to all eligible members, they returned to court. In May 2022, an additional 4,800 individuals received payments, bringing the total amount of retroactive benefits to more than $22 million.

Beginning in 2018, Kramer Levin Partner Steven S. Sparling and his team have worked tirelessly with The Legal Aid Society’s Community Justice Unit (CJU) to combat the illegal secretive nature of the New York City Police Department gang database. Any member of the database, largely communities of color, are criminalized wholesale, given no notice of being entered into it, and don’t have an opportunity to challenge being added or given a chance to be removed. The firm and the CJU have helped hundreds of people submit requests under the Do It Yourself FOIL Initiative, and have litigated numerous FOIL denials in the State Supreme Court. This has in turn shed light on the bloated and misguided scope of the database and the relentless surveillance involved in its upkeep.

Kramer Levin is also an inaugural law firm partner in the Plea Appeals Project of The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau, which advocates for clients given excessive sentences. Pro bono attorneys and paralegals from the firm have submitted briefs, conducted oral arguments, and in several cases secured sentence reductions in New York’s Appellate Division First Judicial Department.

Through its extraordinary pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients, the firm has clearly demonstrated that Kramer Levin shares Judge Lippman’s goal of making equal justice for all not just an ideal, but a reality.


Public Interest Law Leadership Award

Jennifer Colyer is recognized for her extraordinary contributions as a volunteer attorney, for her constant support of The Legal Aid Society and its clients, and as the leader of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen’s outstanding pro bono program since 2000.

Since being honored in 2010 by The Legal Aid Society for her work on behalf of clients applying for resentencing relief under the New York’s Drug Reform Act, Jennifer has done extensive and exemplary work on criminal cases and LGBTQ rights. Jennifer’s tireless work on behalf of immigrants has also garnered widespread praise in New York’s immigration advocacy community.

Jennifer and her Fried Frank colleagues have handled matters across the immigration spectrum, including asylum, the Violence Against Women Act, U-Visa, and cancellation of removal cases.  Most recently, Jennifer has provided leadership and supervision to The Legal Aid Society’s immigration helpline, and remote volunteer projects that assist clients with deferred action renewals under DACA and naturalization.

Jennifer has previously been honored by Her Justice, Unchained at Last, Immigration Equality and the New York City Bar Association. She has lectured on immigration and pro bono management at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference and Columbia Law School. Jennifer has also held leadership positions with the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, Immigration Equality Action Fund, and the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.

We are proud to recognize Jennifer with the 2022 Public Interest Law Leadership Award, and salute her dedication to our mission that no person should be denied the right to equal justice.

Jennifer Colyer  Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen LLP