New Haven Legal Assistance was founded in 1964 during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement
We were established on the principle that everyone, regardless of race or income, should have access to one of our country’s cornerstone ideals, that is, the justice system. Our charge was to serve low-income neighborhoods in New Haven and provide free lawyers to people who could not afford to pay for help with everyday issues like eviction, family law, and income support.
May 1, 1965
United States Supreme Court Justice, Arthur J. Goldberg attended a Law Day ceremony at LAA’s office
LAA formed the Family Law Unit
The Elder Law Unit is established to meet the needs of senior citizens
The Community Legal Education Program began operation to educate clients about their legal rights
1978 - 79
The Disability and Child Law Units are added
The Valley Legal Assistance (VLA) branch opens in Derby, Connecticut
Statewide Legal Services is established
In the early 1980s the federal administration imposed a number of restrictions on Legal Services Corporation funding. These restrictions prohibited legal aid recipients from representing undocumented immigrants, filing class actions, engaging in legislative lobbying, among other activities.
As part of a statewide planning process, LAA determined it could no longer accept LSC funds and effectively carry out its mission. In addition, as part of that planning process, the legal services network created a new entity- Statewide Legal Services (SLS) in 1995.
SLS provides a telephone intake system, advising clients via the telephone and for the state and advice/brief service to clients whose issues cannot be referred to the regional legal services’ programs because of the programs’ limited resources. As a result of this process, there is an ongoing collaboration among the legal services’ programs throughout the state.
LAA establishes the Friends of New Haven Legal Assistance
The Friends Board worked diligently raise funds to support LAA’s work. The Board is comprised of community members who truly believe in LAA’s mission and work.
The Friends Board also established two endowments which are both managed by the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven: the Fund for Legal Assistance Association in Memory of James W. Cooper and the Goldstein Fellowship Fund, named in honor and memory of two of our long-time supporters.
Kate Geruntho Frank
Web/Publications Manager, CTLawHelp.org
Federal Pro Se Legal Asst. Program Fellow
Herbert and Nell Singer Fellow
Jeanette “Jae” Olaya
Bilingual Office Assistant
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Donna Aurora, Secretary
Sara Parker-McKernan, Policy Advocate
Audra Holmes-Greene, Paralegal=
Alyssa Santos, Public Benefits Unit
Yolanda Vargas, Legal Assistant
Hedy Montes, Legal Assistant
Dan Burns, Staff Attorney
Barbara Rey-DeLoatch, Paralegal
Rae Dehal, Staff Attorney
Cynthia Rogers, Paralegal
Board of Directors
Statement from NHLAA Board Chair Dave Reif
Nelson Mandela said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” Every day, the lawyers, paralegals, and staff of NHLAA do the hard work that is needed to protect those rights. They litigate to assure that families have safe housing. They negotiate a path through the regulations that can stand between those deserving assistance and the agencies who should provide it. They protect employees from wage theft and underpayment. In short, they stand up for those who, but for NHLAA, would lose the rights, dignity, and decency they deserve. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” It is our job to make sure that justice is never denied merely because someone cannot afford a lawyer.
David Reif, President
Barbara Katz, Vice President
Joshua Goodbaum, Treasurer
Sister Mary Ellen Burns
Friends of Board of Directors
David A. Reif
David A. Reif
Mercy Quaye at the Narrative Project: email@example.com