Programs Coordinator Devon Stein spoke with Her Justice, a member organization of Nonprofit New York. We will continue to highlight the work of our members because we believe when your nonprofit is stronger, all of us are stronger.
Tell me about the organization and what you do.
Founded in 1993, Her Justice stands with women living in poverty in New York City by recruiting and mentoring volunteer lawyers to provide free legal help to address individual and systemic legal barriers.
Through our pro bono first model, we pair thousands of well-trained and resourced, pro bono attorneys with women who have legal needs in the areas of family, matrimonial, and immigration law. When we do that, we begin to break down systemic barriers that are built into our civil justice system, barriers that reinforce and exacerbate gender, racial and economic imbalances.
Over our 28 years as an organization, we have seen our clients, and women like them, face systematic barriers of exclusion, inefficiency and discrimination. Our policy and advocacy work is directly informed by the lived experience of our clients and these inhibiting barriers. We work to reform this system such that it produces the most favorable outcomes for women like our clients, through processes that are as equitable, empowering, and as efficient as possible.
By engaging in advocacy to effect systemic change, partnering with community-based organizations and leveraging the pro bono power of NYC to provide critical free legal services to women living in poverty, Her Justice is working to close the gap in access to justice, creating a more equitable society for all.
Her Justice reaches women in all five boroughs of New York City. Our wide network of contacts at legal and social services agencies, hospitals and clinics, the courts and police precincts, churches and shelters, helps to spread the word about Her Justice free legal help in family, divorce and immigration cases.
How many people are on your team?
35 staff members, plus volunteers
What population do you serve?
100% of Her Justice clients are women living in poverty. 80% of our clients are survivors of intimate partner violence, 71% of our clients are mothers, and 61% of our clients were born outside of the U.S.
Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years?
In addition to continuing our provision of free legal services to thousands of women living in poverty in New York City, the future holds great potential for the Her Justice Policy Agenda. Our policy work is built on the belief that a system that works for the most vulnerable among us will, by definition, work for everyone.
Based on the lived experience of our clients, we identify imbalances within the civil justice system. Our policy agenda works to address these imbalances and improve the system to be more equitable & efficient. Then, policy changes informed by our work ensure the system is fair and accessible for those who rely on it most, like our clients. It is a virtuous cycle of improving the civil justice system and bettering the lives of the most marginalized in our city.
Now is the time to come together to insist on a better, more equitable civil justice system and we are in it for the long haul.
How has partnering with Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?
The events and training offered by Nonprofit New York make a huge impact on the work of Her Justice and have done for many years. Our partnership has helped us succeed in many ways, including through networking, building smart systems for both our programmatic and development work and educating staff with real-time information and tools on supporting our work.
What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?
On October 4, 2021, we launched #ShiftThePower2021.
The 2021 Her Justice Shift the Power Campaign is a commitment to ensuring that women hit hardest by the pandemic have access to financial security, safety, and stability for themselves and their children through the civil justice system.
For our clients, women living in poverty in New York City, the devastating health and economic crisis is not over, and the road to recovery will be long.
The true measure of a city is how we take care of those most at risk - and the devastating impacts of the pandemic are compounded for women like our clients. The campaign brings together our community to support the provision of free, critical legal services to women living in poverty in New York City and to advocate for a better, more equitable civil justice system for all.