A Steadfast Advocate for Individuals, Families & Communities Throughout Los Angeles County

aka NLSLA   |   Glendale, CA   |


For more than 45 years, NLSLA has been a passionate advocate for low-income residents of Los Angeles County, providing quality legal services using creative and traditional tools within the legal system to help people secure a better life for themselves, their families and their community.

Ruling year info


President, CEO

Yvonne Mariajimenez

Main address

1102 East Chevy Chase Drive

Glendale, CA 91205 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services



NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

While Americans have the right to an attorney in criminal cases, there is no such right in civil matters, leaving low-income people to navigate complex laws and procedures on their own when they experience domestic violence and possible loss of their children, are illegally cut off from critical health benefits, are facing an unlawful eviction or slum hosing conditions, or are experiencing systemic discrimination. In these situations, having access to a free attorney can save homes and prevent homelessness, protect and improve individual and community health, and increase economic stability and opportunities. NLSLA provides free legal services to people living in poverty throughout Los Angeles County. NLSLA attorneys, based in offices, courthouses and clinics throughout Los Angeles County, specialize in areas of the law that disproportionately impact the poor, including housing, public benefits, domestic violence, unemployment, and healthcare.

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?

Legal Assistance to low-income persons who reside in Los Angeles County

NLSLA provides free legal assistance to low-income persons who reside in Los Angeles County on civil matters that particularly impact the poor including housing, family and domestic violence, public benefits, health, immigration, employment, workforce development, education, community economic development and consumer rights.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people
Ethnic and racial groups
People with disabilities
Low-income people

Where we work


Kutak-Dodds Prize 2022

National Legal Aid & Defender Association

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.

The staff and board at NLSLA believes everyone—regardless of race, zip code, income level, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or gender—deserves access to safe, affordable housing, health care, education, economic security, and justice.

NLSLA works to reduce the effects of poverty in Los Angeles’ low-income communities, support the development of opportunities for individuals and families to move themselves out of poverty, and protect and enforce the legal rights of poor people by ensuring access to our justice system.

Today NLSLA meets the legal needs of nearly 160,000 people each year. We do this through a combination of individual representation, high impact litigation, education, and public policy advocacy. Our pillars of work focus on housing, health, economic security and access to justice.

Housing - NLSLA believes access to safe, affordable housing is a human right. The organization works to preserve and increase affordable housing, prevent unlawful evictions and foreclosures, and fight discrimination in Section 8 and other government-subsidized housing. NLSLA leads a collaborative of four Los Angeles programs that provide legal representation to people facing eviction in some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods—the largest of seven projects approved by the state Judicial Council to ensure representation for the poor when critical civil rights are at stake. NLSLA is also a partner in a County-wide effort to create access to housing and other services for people who are homeless.

Health - NLSLA is at the forefront of health advocacy in California: we are the largest member of a statewide network of programs offering free assistance to people struggling to get health insurance coverage and resolve problems with health plans. We utilize policy advocacy and impact litigation to resolve widespread health access and health equity issues, and run the nation’s largest network of Medical Legal Community Partnerships, which place lawyers in clinics and hospitals to address the social determinates of health.

Economic Security - Helping low-income individuals, families and communities attain economic security is at the heart of much of NLSLA’s work. We work with clients to remove barriers to education and employment, protect and resolve family relationships, and ensure meaningful access to public benefits. We also help workers expunge criminal records that often date back decades and stand in the way of a job, occupational license or certificate that could help move a family toward greater economic stability.

Access to Justice - NLSLA believes justice depends on equal access to the courts and to the protections of the law. The organization leads the nation’s largest network of self-help centers, where each day 565 self-represented litigants receive help navigating complex housing and family law issues. Our advocates help victims of domestic violence navigate complex family law matters in the aftermath of abuse; fight for appropriate language services and access for people with disabilities in LA County courts; and work with community-based organizations to advocate for environmental justice in low-income communities.

NLSLA has more than 140 full-time staff members, including 60 attorneys, who speak the 12 threshold languages in Los Angeles County.
NLSLA staff members are housed in four regional offices located in Pacoima, El Monte, Boyle Heights, and Glendale - where the program’s administrative offices are also located.  In addition, NLSLA advocates are co-located in courthouses in Van Nuys, Lancaster, Chatsworth, Pomona and Downtown LA; Hospitals and health centers in Sylmar, Van Nuys, North Hollywood and El Monte; and with social services providers in the Antelope Valley.

NLSLA is particularly known for its innovative programs and collaborative models for delivering services across the County. Among those are the NLSLA Health Consumer Center (HCC) and Medical Legal Community Partnership projects ensuring that everyone receives the health care they need; Shriver Housing - LA providing right to counsel for evictions; Self-Help Legal Access Centers assisting the un-represented with domestic violence, family law and eviction cases in nine courthouses; People Experiencing Homelessness Project (PEHP) providing legal help to the homeless in Antelope, San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys; and Disaster Legal Assistance providing support and help to low-income disaster survivors.

Yvonne Mariajimenez is the President & CEO, and began her career at NLSLA more than 40 years ago. She has a demonstrated background in litigation and policy advocacy in those areas that most impact the poor: housing, Domestic Violence and Family Law, Immigration, public benefits and health.

Mariajimenez was NLSLA’s Deputy Director for more than 20 years, and has played a critical role in all of the organization’s accomplishments. Her enduring commitment to expanding access to justice has made her a fierce advocate for people living in poverty throughout Los Angeles.

Mariajimenez oversees a staff of talented, experienced advocates who specialize in areas of the law that most impact people living in poverty.

In the last few years alone, NLSLA has secured significant legal victories on behalf of low-income people living in Los Angeles County. In a series of successful lawsuits, NLSLA won critical protections for millions of Medi-Cal recipients across the County, halting unlawful terminations of benefits and ensuring that patients with chronic and serious conditions have access to specialized care. NLSLA attorneys also increased protections for the residents of Section 8 housing, shielding 45,000 families in Los Angeles County from sudden, illegal rent hikes and ensuring Section 8 residents in certain parts of the County are not unlawfully terminated because of discriminatory local policies.

NLSLA significantly expanded healthcare access, in part by launching the Health Consumer Center. The center provides assistance for any resident of Los Angeles, free of charge, who has an issue with their health care coverage. The organization also leads a network of Medical-Legal Community Partnerships, which place lawyers in community clinics and hospitals to address the legal issues standing in the way of health. The model recently became a permanent part of the Los Angeles County health delivery system.

NLSLA leads an eviction defense program that includes Los Angeles’ most prominent legal services programs and significantly expands access to lawyers for people facing eviction in Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods. The project has helped countless people avoid eviction and homelessness, and is poised to grow in the coming years.

NLSLA built considerable expertise in disaster legal services. The organization is one of just eleven legal aid groups across the country to receive federal funding for legal services in the aftermath of disaster, and it has focused those efforts on helping the low-income victims of the Southern California fires.

In 2020 NLSLA will expand the Medical Legal Community Partnerships, adding two county hospitals and three clinics to the growing network. The organization also plans to increase its health advocacy efforts around medical debt, and to further develop its advocacy around substandard housing and lead poisoning. NLSLA will continue to focus on increasing services in the Antelope and San Gabriel Valleys, and will continue to work with the city and county to address homelessness, increasing the number of lawyers dedicating their time to these services.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • 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

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, 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



Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.


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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.


Board of directors
as of 04/13/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Board President Esteban Rodriguez

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Term: 2025 - 2022

Board co-chair

Board Vice President Bryan Sheldon

LimNexus LLP

Term: 2022 - 2025

Mandy Wu

Imag!ne Enterprises

Jose De Sosa

Community Member/No Affiliation

Kathi Frazier

Community Member/No Affiliation

Jose R. Hernandez


Oscar Madrigal

Zip Zap Zop Enrichment

Luz Elena Tafolla

Community Member/No Affiliation

Emily Song

Community Member/No Affiliation

Erica Deutsch

Bush Gottlieb

Tamila C. Jensen

Law Office of Tamila C. Jensen

Richard S. Tom

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Silva Garabedian

Community Member/No Affiliation

Bryan Sheldon

LimNexus LLP

Andrea L. Tozer

Southern California Edison Co

Esteban Rodriguez

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Paul Loh

Wilenken Wilson Loh & Delgado, LLP

Mara Cohen

The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University

Saheli Datta

Universal Music Group

Alice Fu

Community Member/No Affiliation

Paul Garcia

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman

Sharre Lotfollahi

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

John B. Major

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Lizbeth Nevarez

GHJ Advisors

Criselda Haro Sandoval


Doug Smith

Mayer Brown

David Willingham

King & Spalding LLP

Selene Zamora

Community Member/No Affiliation

Zakiya Glass

Harrington, Foxx, Dubrow & Canter

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 ? Yes
  • 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 4/13/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/13/2023

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

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.