Access to Justice

NLSLA believes justice depends on equal access to the courts and to the protections of the law. How can someone advocate for their child in a custody hearing when they don’t understand what the judge is saying and there is no interpreter? How can someone in a wheelchair fight to protect their home in an eviction case when their assigned courtroom is thirty miles and three bus routes away? NLSLA works to ensure access to our courts and to expand legal assistance and representation in civil cases where basic human needs—such as housing and custody of a child—are at stake.

Helping domestic violence survivors weather the storm

Survivors of domestic violence need help navigating complex family law matters in the aftermath of the abuse. But low-income survivors often find themselves without access to critical legal guidance, left on their own to deal with restraining orders, custody issues and a whole host of other legal matters. That’s why Neighborhood Legal Services works to expand access to legal assistance for survivors of domestic violence across Los Angeles County, improving individual outcomes for victims and advocating for changes that impact the system as a whole.

Our attorneys assist domestic violence survivors in a variety of family law matters, including child abduction, restraining orders, divorce, paternity, custody, visitation and child support. In order to improve the system for survivors and their children, Neighborhood Legal Services testifies at government hearings, partners with the Courts, and provides critical trainings to police officers and social workers.

Getting the help you need, when you need it

Through our Domestic Abuse Self Help Project, which operates domestic violence clinics at four courthouses throughout Los Angeles County, NLSLA advocates help more than 4,000 people each year navigate the complicated process of obtaining and responding to domestic violence restraining orders.

NLSLA also operates a Domestic Violence Legal Hotline where domestic violence survivors can find timely assistance on relevant legal matters. If you need assistance, call us at 1-800-433-6251, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:15 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.

A decade of empowering individuals

NLSLA operates ten Self-Help Legal Access Centers across Los Angeles County—the largest network of self-help centers in California. Piloted by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the NLSLA Centers have helped more than 900,000 people access the courts during the past decade. The Centers are staffed by NLSLA advocates, legal services partners’ staff, dedicated volunteers, and Justice Corps students. Learn more about our Self-Help Centers.

Getting low-income immigrants protection they deserve

Neighborhood Legal Services works to ensure that low-income immigrants and immigrants who have survived domestic violence or fallen victim to other crimes are treated fairly and offered the protection they legally deserve.

Our advocates provide legal representation for low-income individuals on a variety of immigration matters, including: helping survivors of domestic violence and victims of certain crimes with VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and U Visa applications; assisting clients in obtaining employment authorization cards; adjusting status applications to obtain legal permanent resident status; helping with family-based immigration petitions and preparing hardship waivers and other ancillary materials needed for the primary application.

Empowering and revitalizing communities

The strength of our communities is tied to those nonprofit groups, community-based coalitions, and faith-based organizations that empower individuals and families in low-income neighborhoods. Neighborhood Legal Services helps these groups to revitalize communities and create economic opportunities in low-income neighborhoods across Los Angeles County. We also work to ensure publicly funded developments contribute to the health of the community by advocating for local hiring, living wage jobs and other benefits such as cultural arts trust funds.