Tonko, LSC President Join Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York to Announce Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

September 30, 2015

WASHINGTON –New York Congressman Paul Tonko and Legal Services Corporation President Jim Sandman will join leaders of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY) on Oct. 2 in Albany to announce that the legal aid provider will receive a $362,559 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant to expand service to low-income people in rural areas.

LASNNY will partner with Legal Assistance of Western New York and the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County to create a virtual platform that connects rural clients to urban volunteer attorneys. This will allow lawyers to conduct online interviews and share documents so they can help review and prepare pleadings for self-represented litigants in housing and consumer law matters.

“I thank LSC for the important legal support they provide our friends and neighbors most in need," said Tonko (NY-20). "The funds allocated to LASNNY will assist communities throughout the Capital Region, creating essential infrastructure to connect urban volunteers with the rural clients they represent. This will go a long way in expanding these services by enlisting new volunteers and ensuring there is enough support for them to effectively represent their clients.”

The project will help address the need of low-income tenants or debtors who face significant challenges when appearing in court without an attorney. It will include a campaign to recruit, support, and sustain volunteers and clients in using the new system. The project will create a scalable technology infrastructure that expands services and lowers the cost of serving rural areas.

“We are grateful to Congress for funding this competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “The grants we are funding will expand the resources available to serve low-income people, engage more private lawyers in rewarding pro bono work, and leverage our federal appropriation.”

Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is one of 15 recipients of LSC’s $4 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients. This is the second year LSC has awarded the funds.

The news conference begins at 2:30 at the offices of Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, 55 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206
Contact: Lillian Moy,, (518) 810-8859.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.