About Us

OUR MISSION

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services’s (NNJLS) mission is to ensure equal access to justice for residents of Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic Counties, NJ experiencing poverty. No one should be denied a meaningful opportunity to have their day in court simply because they cannot afford a lawyer.

WHAT WE DO

NNJLS is a private non-profit public interest law firm that provides free legal help in civil (non-criminal) matters to underserved individuals and families experiencing poverty. We also work to increase the public’s knowledge of their rights and responsibilities through community legal education.

NNJLS focuses on four core areas of civil law—housing, consumer, family, and public benefits. These are the areas in which our clients are most likely to develop legal problems that they cannot address themselves. With experienced attorneys on staff, NNJLS works to ensure that clients do not lose their housing due to eviction or foreclosure; that they are not harassed by debt collectors or victimized by unfair business practices; that they and their families have fair custody and support arrangements in the event of separation or divorce; and that they can receive the public benefits and other forms of income support they need to maintain their independence and meet their daily needs.

NNJLS also has specialized programs in place to address the legal needs of veterans; seniors; survivors of domestic violence; survivors of sexual assault; students; immigrants; persons living with HIV or AIDS; individuals formerly incarcerated who now face legal barriers to re-entry; individuals experiencing homelessness; and residents experiencing poverty with federal income tax (IRS) issues.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
— Martin Luther King Jr.

 
WHO WE SERVE

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services provides free legal assistance to residents of Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic Counties experiencing poverty including seniors, persons living with a disability(ies), and persons experiencing homelessness.
 

Due to limited funding, we cannot serve all those who come to us for help. We do not handle criminal cases, auto accidents or personal injury matters, business disputes, traffic tickets, worker’s compensation, or real estate closing matters. If we cannot provide you with legal assistance, we will try to refer you to local agencies where you may be able to receive the help you need.​
 

If you are a New Jersey resident and need legal assistance but do not live in Bergen, Hudson, or Passaic Counties, click here to contact your local legal services program.

If you live outside New Jersey, please visit the Legal Services Corporation's website to find a legal aid near you.

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OUR HISTORY
In response to the increasing demand for legal assistance by people who could not afford private attorneys, many small legal services organizations began to spring up across the United States throughout the early part of the 19th century. This was especially true in urban areas, where large populations of people lived in poverty.
 
Over time, however, it became increasingly apparent that these small networks of mostly pro bono attorneys were insufficient to meet the great need for legal assistance for the disadvantaged. 

The origins of Northeast New Jersey Legal Services (NNJLS) go back to the 1960s, a time when concerned attorneys and legislators realized the need to provide funding for legal services organizations and began forming non-profit organizations dedicated solely to providing legal assistance for the impoverished.  Bergen County Legal Services, Hudson County Legal Services, and the Passaic County Legal Aid Society had their beginnings in this era. In 2003, these three legal services agencies merged to become Northeast New Jersey Legal Services.
 
Today, NNJLS is one of the largest providers of free legal assistance in the state, serving a population of great racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity. NNJLS’s staff of experienced attorneys and support personnel provides free legal assistance to residents experiencing poverty from all parts of its service area – from the urban centers of Hackensack, Jersey City, and Paterson to the more “rural” areas of northern Bergen and Passaic Counties. In 2019, over 10,000 people received free legal help from NNJLS.

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