Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy


50 Years of Changing Lives & Transforming Communities


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


Executivie Director

Neal S. Dudovitz Esq.

Deputy Director

Yvonne Mariajimenez Esq.

Main Address

1102 East Chevy Chase Drive

Glendale, CA 91205 USA

Formerly Known As

San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services


Legal Aid in Los Angeles, CA





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

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 more than 100,000 people each year. We do this through a combination of individual representation, high impact litigation, education, and public policy advocacy. Our four 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.

NLSLA’s work is driven by measurable outcomes. Because so much of our work is done in partnership with other groups, we regularly convene partners to perfect our service delivery systems, and to figure out which data to track in order to measure individual and community-wide impact. NLSLA is supported by the Legal Services Corporation—a federally chartered agency that funds the work of legal aid groups across the country—as well as the State Bar of California, Los Angeles County and the State of California. The organization regularly tracks and reports data on progress and impact to each of these entities. To get a wider view of our work and its impact, NLSLA collects client outcomes for our full-scope services and litigant outcomes for our self-help centers. We also conduct regular surveys and occasional focus groups to assess how our clients perceive the help we provided. The program uses a case management system, Legal Server, to track outcomes across practice areas and projects, including critical demographic information that helps the program assess its impact among different vulnerable groups. Legal Server is set up to allow the organization to track outcomes consistent with any new grant.

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.

External Reviews



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

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?