Justice Through Community Power

aka NYLPI   |   New York, NY   |


Our mission is to advance equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights, and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyers and partnerships with the private bar.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. McGregor Smyth

Main address

151 West 30th Street 11th Floor

New York, NY 10001 USA

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NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

Immigrants' Rights (R21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Millions of New Yorkers face overwhelming obstacles shaped by poverty, immigration status, race, neighborhood pollution, and disabilities. They face serious barriers; their needs are often ignored – their rights violated, and their voices unheard. The need has never been greater to protect the dignity and civil rights of these vulnerable groups. Their struggles for justice demand innovative solutions. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) uses the knowledge and resources of its skilled staff of attorneys, organizers, and advocates and the private bar to break down the barriers to equality through legal action and community organizing. By working together as one, we bring the power of the law to where it's needed most.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Disability Justice

The Disability Justice Program works to advance civil rights and ensure equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities. Our advocacy spans many areas, including housing, transportation, education, community integration, and equal access to programs and services in New York City.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

The Environmental Justice Program provides community organizing and legal assistance to low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that bear an unfair burden of environmental threats

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The Health Justice Program works to bring a racial justice and immigrant rights focus to health care advocacy in New York City and State through representing immigrant and detained individuals with serious health care needs, providing support to community based organizations mobilizing on the ground, and seeking to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and systemic and institutional barriers that limit universal access to health care and impact the social determinants of health.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Ethnic and racial groups

NYLPI’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse maintains a network of over 80 law firms and corporate legal departments willing to volunteer their time to address the legal needs of New York’s underrepresented communities

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Nonprofit Excellence Award 2010

New York Times Company

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Founded more than 40 years ago by leaders of the bar, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) pursues equality and justice for all New Yorkers. NYLPI works towards a New York where all people can thrive in their communities, with quality healthcare and housing, safe jobs, equal schools, and healthy neighborhoods. In our vision, all New Yorkers live with dignity and independence, with the access and resources they need to succeed. NYLPI's community-driven approach powers its commitments to civil rights and to health, disability, immigrant, and environmental justice. NYLPI seeks lasting change through legal representation, community organizing, policy advocacy, pro bono service, public education, and litigation.

Our advocates partner with these communities to solve seemingly intractable problems. Guided by community priorities, we strive to ensure meaningful health access, strengthen local non-profits, achieve equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities, and reduce environmental burdens in communities of poverty and of color. We use every tool available — litigation, community organizing, policy advocacy, pro bono service, and media — to build collective power to achieve justice and equality.

NYLPI has 17 attorneys on staff, 3 community organizers, a social worker/intake coordinator, a counselor/advocate, four program advocates/assistants, two pro bono coordinators, and an intake receptionist. Six other staff members perform development and operations functions. We also leverage the resources of nearly 900 volunteer attorneys from our member firms.

In the past year, NYLPI provided direct legal services and community education that benefited more than 37,500 people and accomplished significant impact achievements improving the lives of more than 1,000,000 New Yorkers. Clients achieved direct benefits and cost savings valued at more than $2M, and the results saved New York taxpayers at least $766,000. Highlights include:

Secured passage of historic New York City commercial waste reform law that will significantly reduce our City’s climate change impact and carbon footprint. It will cut diesel truck traffic by more than half and increase recycling, while improving rules for safety, labor fairness, and customer service.

Won landmark federal appeals court decision, holding in a case of first impression that government officials can be held accountable on constitutional grounds for failing to provide mental health discharge planning for people in immigration detention. ICE and local officials later agreed to pay $1.725M to settle the cases brought by our clients who were “discharged and dumped” from ICE detention onto the street without plans for ongoing mental health needs.

Played key role in passing New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, putting New York on the path to 85% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – the most ambitious climate legislation in the nation.

Filed a lawsuit and passed Sports Equity Legislation to address serious racial disparities in access to public high school sports teams in New York City.

Achieved a milestone ruling for New York’s’ Freedom of Information Law, compelling the New York Police Department (NYPD) to turn over bodycam footage in police shootings involving people experiencing mental health crises.

Provided Free Immigration Naturalization Clinics for eligible green card holders. With support from partners and firms, we have served 787 clients to date. 

Mobilized the Private Bar for Equity and Justice. In 2019, 811 attorneys at 80 law firms supported our work and worked over 16,000 hours to serve 379 nonprofits.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    NYLPI provides individual and systemic civil legal services to low-income and marginalized communities in metropolitan New York City, with a focus on clients who are currently underserved because of disability, immigration status, race, or limited English proficiency. These communities experience poor health, educational barriers, high unemployment, discrimination, and poverty, particularly concentrated in communities of color, which account for most of the 1.4 million New Yorkers below the federal poverty line.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Responding to ongoing pandemic and community concerns surrounding vaccines and city and state requirements, in late 2021 NYLPI launched our Health Justice Talks, a video series to bridge the gap between expert information and community public health and equity concerns. The videos are presented in multiple languages including English, Spanish, and Mandarin, and cover a range of topics including the Key to NYC program’s requirements and vaccine safety for pregnant and parenting people. The segments feature members of NYLPI’s Medical Providers Network and include additional resources and fact sheets for each topic.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Client and community priorities power and drive our work. We engage in priority setting in conjunction with community partners - rather than imposing our own priorities, we collaborate with underserved communities to understand their most pressing legal needs. We assess need and community prioritization through intake patterns, long-term relationships with community leaders and grassroots CBOs, organizing and canvassing in the community, and community surveys. Our largest initiatives have steering committees of community members and partners with shared funding. Most of our work beyond individual cases occurs in coalitions or through group representation, with directly affected communities in leadership roles.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 10/03/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Susan Kohlmann

Jenner & Block LLP

Term: 2021 - 2023

David Anders

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Robert Anello

Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason & Anello, P.C.

Lisa Bebchick

Ropes & Gray LLP

Joshua Roth

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Mark Hellerer

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Karen Dine

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones

Shelley Dropkin

Citigroup Inc.

Christopher Duffy

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Carmine Boccuzzi

Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Lawrence Gresser

Cohen & Gresser LLP

Suhana Han

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Eric Huang

Quinn Emanual Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

Robert Kleinberg

Susan Kohlmann

Jenner & Block LLP

Holly Kulka

Standard & Poor's Rating Services

David Lender

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Jamie Levitt

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Robert Lewin

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Heather McDevitt

White & Case LLP

Lorraine McGowen

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Alan Neuwirth

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

David Pitofsky

News Corp

Craig Waldman

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Michael Salzman

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Douglas Schwarz

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Richard Schwed

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Dana Seshens

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Rachel Skaistis

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Ingo Sprie, Jr.

Arnold & Porter

Richard Strassberg

Goodwin Procter LLP

Christopher Tahbaz

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Charles J. Scibetta

Chaffetz Lindsey LLP

Andrew G. Gordon

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Catherine Williams

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

Kevin McDonough

Latham & Watkins LLP

Andrew Genser

Viking Global Investors LP

Maryana Zubok

Pfizer Inc.

Matthew Ingber

Mayer Brown LLP

Daniel Brown

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Julie E. Fink

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Daphne Morduchowitz

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Michael Martinez

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

David J. Abrams

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP

Lauren E. Aguiar

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Ellen Holloman

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Reid L. Ashinoff


Rahul Mukhi

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Karen M. Steel

Schindler Cohen & Hochman LLP

Jeffrey A. Brown

Dechert LLP

Karen A. Chesley

Boies Schiller Flexner LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/27/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/03/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.