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Neighborhood Legal Services Association

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Cause Description:
Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) was established in 1966 as a non-profit, public interest law firm to provide civil legal assistance to poor and vulnerable residents of Allegheny (and later) Beaver, Butler and Lawrence Counties. The mission of Neighborhood Legal Services Association is to meet the civil legal needs of the poor and vulnerable in our community through effective legal representation and education. Staffed by highly qualified lawyers, deeply committed to the practice of poverty law, NLSA attorneys sacrifice higher salaries available to private practitioners and lawyers employed in the public sector in order to provide legal assistance to people who cannot afford a lawyer. All of the cases that NLSA handles have reached a crisis stage that threatens the fundamental safety and security of low-income individuals living in our community. These issues involve basic quality of life matters such as: the ability to maintain housing; obtaining or maintaining essential benefits to the disabled and children; employment practices; child custody and visitation issues; and protection from abuse and neglect. Although NLSA typically works case by case, its positive impact is cumulative. Generally, legal assistance for one person improves the lives of entire families. When families live in adequate housing, with essential benefits intact, predatory lenders at bay, and fear of domestic violence reduced or eliminated, entire communities are stabilized -- providing great benefit to our entire community. NLSA is the major provider of free civil legal services to low-income, elderly, and abused individuals in our four-county service area. Over the past forty-two years, NLSA has provided civil legal services to nearly 800,000 clients who would otherwise have been denied access to the justice system. With only 27 lawyers to handle approximately 12,000 cases each year, NLSA also relies on the collaboration of 400 attorney members from the private bar to supplement monetary and human resources. NLSA is governed by an active, supportive, and generous Board of Directors

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