Access Justice Brooklyn, Inc.

Legal advocates for our community.

Brooklyn, NY   |  http://www.accessjusticebrooklyn.org

Mission

Access Justice Brooklyn provides high-quality, pro bono legal services and community education to our neighbors in need. Using the collective talents of our dedicated staff and volunteers, we help ensure a more accessible legal system and equitable Brooklyn.

Ruling year info

1993

President & CEO

Ms. Heidi Henderson

Main address

44 Court St. Suite 1206

Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA

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Formerly known as

Brooklyn Bar Associaton Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.

EIN

11-3155182

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

While Brooklyn has a strong network of legal and social service organizations, the number of individuals who continue to go without representation highlights the persistent gap between available resources and the need for legal support. Millions of New Yorkers, including Brooklynites, attempt to represent themselves in civil legal matters each year due to insufficient legal resources and the high cost of private legal counsel, which is out of reach for most individuals – resulting in divergent legal outcomes for those with representation compared to those without. Access Justice Brooklyn seeks to close this gap by providing Brooklyn residents with free, accessible legal information and representation, leveling the playing field and helping clients succeed in court.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Access Justice Brooklyn, Inc.

Access Justice Brooklyn provides high-quality, pro bono legal services and community education to our neighbors in need. Using the collective talents of our dedicated staff and volunteers, we help ensure a more accessible legal system and equitable Brooklyn.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Seniors
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of attorney volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

205 active volunteers in 2020; over 1000 volunteers on panel

Number of clients assisted with legal needs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Age groups, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of individuals and family members provided with legal assistance

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Access Justice Brooklyn recognizes that the balance of inequity shifts when low-income people have legal support, which both increases their likelihood of achieving positive outcomes and reduces the stress involved in navigating the complex legal system without an attorney. We therefore work to mitigate systemic barriers to the legal process by providing access to free, high quality legal help, with the goal of closing the access to justice gap and creating a more equitable Brooklyn.

We serve individuals experiencing legal issues related to family stability, including custody, visitation, child and spousal support, and uncontested divorce; foreclosure intervention and prevention; Chapter 7 bankruptcy and consumer debt litigation and advocacy; Article 17A Guardianship; and elder law, including advance directives and wills. To address these needs, we provide advice and counsel, brief services, and full legal representation, as applicable, as well as referrals for legal needs outside our scope of services. We also engage in community legal education in these areas, which aims at early intervention so Brooklynites can identify and seek help for legal problems as soon as they arise.


Access Justice Brooklyn's extensive civil legal services to Brooklyn residents include: (1) direct representation (full and limited scope) by staff and pro bono attorneys; (2) court-based and community clinics for brief legal services, advice, and pro se assistance; (3) in-house uncontested divorce clinics; (4) daily advice and counsel by Access Justice Brooklyn staff and volunteers in office both by telephone, Zoom video conferencing, and in-person; and (5) neighborhood community education presentations for seniors and for homeowners in danger of foreclosure, and “know your rights” programs on critical issues of concern.

Central to achieving our mission, Access Justice Brooklyn partners with compassionate pro bono attorneys to provide high-quality civil legal services that help ensure equal access to the legal system. This proven model channels the pro bono power of the private bar to expand access to justice by engaging private practice attorneys
in community legal work; forming bridges between the private bar, educational institutions, social service agencies, and legal services offices; producing free training programs and manuals; and building a support system for volunteers. We recruit, train, and mentor volunteers from any legal background, connecting them with programs designed to meet critical legal needs in the Brooklyn community and supporting them as they hone their expertise and talents in our areas of practice. Critically, this model enables us to expand our reach and serve a far greater number of people than we could alone.

Access Justice Brooklyn is an accredited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) provider and regularly trains pro bono volunteers in our areas of practice. We design and present CLE training programs that prepare both new and repeat volunteers to provide critical community legal support, offer written materials with relevant case law, statutes, and forms, and also match volunteers with experienced practitioners and mentors to facilitate learning and ensure effective assistance to our clients. These presentations are offered in person as well as virtually, allowing volunteers to revisit recorded trainings as needed. Our approach has allowed us to recruit and retain a significant number of volunteers: in the last year, 205 pro bono attorneys, law students, interns, and other volunteers provided more than 6,285 hours of compassionate, free legal services to the Brooklyn community.

Access Justice Brooklyn is a pioneer of contemporary pro bono models and a progressive force in the community. Our small staff and dedicated volunteers have been helping people for over 30 years—saving homes, securing families, and ultimately building the support and foundation for healthier lives.

In the last year, Access Justice Brooklyn's services benefitted 8,409 individuals and families throughout Brooklyn, made possible with the support of 205 pro bono attorneys and other volunteers. We handled 2,293 civil legal matters which benefited 5,531 individuals and families; provided pro se assistance to 670 Brooklyn residents, helping them better represent themselves in their legal matters; disseminated critical legal information and resources to an 1,009 people, covering topics such as deed theft, advance directives, consumer debt, and pandemic-related policy changes; and provided referrals to 1,199 people seeking help with issues outside of our scope of services.

In addition, we helped clients obtain critical financial support and avoid fees and other debts, increasing their overall financial stability. As a result of our advocacy, our clients obtained $237,326 in child support arrears and $15,206 in monthly child and spousal support benefits. We helped clients save or recover $410,275 through settlements in foreclosure actions; $746,269 through bankruptcy; $424,345 by avoiding or reducing consumer debt; and $116,750 in fines and penalties imposed by the New York City Department of Buildings through representation before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. We were also able to save clients $14,740 in court filing fees by obtaining fee waivers.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Access Justice Brooklyn provides free, accessible legal services to clients who would otherwise be left to navigate the legal system on their own. We serve Brooklyn residents, borough-wide, who are considered low-income - defined as living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Approximately 25 percent of our clients are 60 years of age or older, 65 percent identify as female and 35 percent identify as male, and over 80 percent identify as people of color.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Access Justice Brooklyn, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Access Justice Brooklyn, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 06/06/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lynn Judell

Lynn Judell

Lawrence DiGiovanna

Steven Williamson

Scottye Lindsey

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/19/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/15/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.