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Projects, Units & Initiatives

Civil Practice Law Reform Unit

The Law Reform Unit builds upon the needs of individual clients to effect systemic changes through litigation and advocacy that benefit large numbers of clients with similar legal problems. Through class actions and other affirmative litigation, we seek to enforce the rights of many similarly situated persons or to establish new legal rights. The unit’s active affirmative law reform litigation docket includes 27 cases that benefit virtually the entire population of low-income New Yorkers.

This Unit conducts impact litigation and advocates for legislative and regulatory reform on behalf of New Yorkers in need on a host of civil legal issues, including benefits, immigration, health law, homelessness, and employment.


Securing Status For Vulnerable Youth – In February 2018, the federal government began denying applications for young New Yorkers trying to secure their immigration status through the Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) visa program. SIJS was created to help young immigrants who had been abandoned, neglected, or abused. However, because of this illegal change, applicants between 18-21 were being wrongfully denied the protections they need. After a long battle in the courts, we successfully challenged the administration, stopping the unlawful denial of applicants. Now, thousands of vulnerable immigrants can safely secure their legal status.

Defending NYCHA Residents – In the past two years, NYCHA residents have lived through some of the most brutal winters on record, at times without any heat or hot water. Decades of mismanagement and poor funding has left buildings across the city almost unlivable. We are taking a stand for these tenants. In the past year, we have pushed for rent abatements for NYCHA tenants who were left in the cold. We have created informational materials to help people get help. With nearly 600,000 NYCHA residents across the city, we are making sure that all New Yorkers have a safe place to stay.

There is no excuse for the deplorable conditions that have plagued tenants for so long.

Judith Golidner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit