Pro Bono News

LawHelp/NY Named Semifinalist For The Collaboration Prize

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

  • Pro Bono Net

New York (November 12, 2008) - The New York LawHelp Consortium has been chosen as a semifinalist for The Collaboration Prize, a new $250,000 award meant to recognize and encourage collaboration among nonprofit organizations. The Consortium developed and runs LawHelp/NY (, an online resource offering detailed statewide legal aid referrals, know-your-rights information and a variety of self-help tools to New Yorkers facing legal problems.

At a time when nonprofits are grappling with an extremely challenging economic climate, this recognition for LawHelp/NY highlights how collaboration can lead to both increased efficiencies and better outcomes.

The LawHelp/NY Consortium, which is made up of 11 legal aid, bar and pro bono organizations throughout the state, was nominated for the prize by the Hon. Juanita Bing Newton, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives for the New York State Unified Court System. The Consortium is among 30 semifinalists chosen from 644 nominations.

By pooling resources, the Consortium has made Lawhelp/NY into a one-stop destination for those seeking help with legal problems ranging from eviction, foreclosure and internet fraud, to child custody, domestic violence and discrimination. "Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers benefit every year from the information they find on LawHelp/NY," said Leah Margulies, LawHelp/NY Project Director. "Community groups and social service agencies no longer have to struggle to keep up-to-date lists of free legal services and know-your-rights information, because it's all available on one website."

In her nomination, Judge Bing Newton noted that, "LawHelp/NY has had an enormous impact not only on its intended beneficiaries, but also on legal services throughout the country as a model for similar sites." In selecting LawHelp/NY as a finalist, The Collaboration Prize's judges also highlighted that the model is "highly replicable in other communities." Since 2001, Pro Bono Net, a founding member of the Consortium, has replicated the LawHelp model in 27 additional states as part of its mission of increasing access to justice through the innovative use of technology. The expansion of LawHelp was funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation.

The Collaboration Prize was launched in 2008 by The Lodestar Foundation, in association with the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan (AIM) Alliance, to recognize nonprofit collaborations that achieve exceptional impact and significantly eliminate duplication of efforts. This group of semifinalists will now be narrowed down to eight finalists, to be announced in December, and the winner will be announced in March 2009.

The LawHelp/NY Consortium consists of City Bar Justice Center, Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society of New York, Pro Bono Net , Volunteers of Legal Service, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Empire Justice Center, New York State Bar Association, Legal Assistance of Western New York, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and Nassau/Suffolk Law Services.