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The Legal Aid Society is Open for Business. Although our physical offices are closed in accordance with the Governor’s order, we remain open for business remotely.

Clients in need of assistance can continue to call our main number 212-577-3300. Indicate you need Legal Assistance and your call will be forwarded to an Operator who will assist you.

If you are not able to get through at first, please be patient as we work to improve our ability to assist you while working remotely.

Important Things To Know

All NYS Courts are closed until 4/17 with certain exceptions.

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All residential evictions are suspended indefinitely.

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Resources for families with children are available.

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Terms You Might Hear

The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.

  • Arraignment – A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is called before a court, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted by law.
  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Bail – The temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security given for the prisoner's appearance at a later hearing.
  • Brief – A written document prepared by the lawyers on each side of a dispute that is submitted to the court in support of each side's argument. It includes the points of law which the lawyer wishes to establish, the arguments the lawyer will use, and the legal authorities on which the lawyer rests their conclusions.
  • Clerk – An official or employee of the court who maintains the files of each case, and issues routine documents.
  • Custody – The care, possession, and control of a thing or person.
  • EOIR – Executive Office of Immigration Review
  • Essential Plan – A new Insurance Affordability Program launched in 2016 that offers qualified individuals and families a choice of plans from high-quality private health insurers through the NY State of Heath.
  • Eviction Proceeding – Any proceeding which could result in the eviction of a respondent, such as a holdover or nonpayment proceeding.
  • Foreclosure – The process by which mortgaged property enters into the possession of the mortgagee without right of redemption by the mortgagor, usually for reason of delinquency in mortgage payments.
  • Landlord – A lessor of real property; the owner or possessor of an estate in land or a rental property, who, in an exchange for rent, leases it to another individual known as the tenant.
  • Levy – A seizure; the obtaining of money by legal process through seizure and sale of property.
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • Marshal – An officer of the United States, whose duty it is to execute the process of the courts of the United States. His duties are very similar to those of a sheriff.
  • Medicaid – A health insurance program for low-income and individuals with disabilities. Jointly paid for by the federal and state government.
  • Notarize – To have a notary public attest to the authenticity of a signature on a document by signing the document and affixing his/her own stamp.
  • Petition – In special or summary proceedings, a paper like a document filed in court and delivered to the respondents, stating what the petitioner requests from the court and the respondents.
  • Probation – The condition of being allowed freedom if they commit no more crimes and follow certain rules.
  • Proceeding – A type of lawsuit. For example: In Housing Court, a nonpayment proceeding seeks past-due rent; a holdover proceeding seeks possession of the premises.
  • Social Security – A federal program that provides income, health insurance, and other benefits.
  • TPS – Temporary Protective Status. Offers temporary legal status to certain immigrants in the United States who cannot return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary reasons.
  • Tenant – A person who occupies a property owned by another, based upon an agreement between the person and the landlord/owner.
  • Trial – The formal examination of a legal controversy in court so as to determine the issue.
  • USCIS – United States Citizen and Immigration Services
  • Warrant – An official document approved by an authority (normally a judge) which gives the police permission to do certain things.