Legal Aid Societies 1876 German immigrants

Legal Aid Societies 1876

Legal Aid Societies 1876
Legal Aid Societies 1876

Edward Salomon (1828–1909), Arthur von Briesen (1843–1920)

The Legal Aid Society is a New York City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit legal aid organization. It is the country’s oldest and largest legal assistance organization, having been established in 1876.

Its lawyers defend clients in criminal and civil proceedings, including class actions. The group is supported by official funds as well as individual donations. It is the city’s principal legal services provider and the top beneficiary of financing from the New York City government among regional legal aid organizations.

In 1876, the Legal Aid Society was established in New York to protect the rights of German immigrants who could not afford to employ an attorney. The organization was able to expand its services and involve people from all walks of life thanks to a major grant from the Rockefeller Family in 1890. The New York Legal Aid Society was founded in 1890, and in 1890, it was called. A board of directors oversees the organization. Richard J. Davis was elected to the board of directors on December 2, 2010.

The German Society incorporated the Deutscher Rechts-Schutz Verein (the German Legal Protection Society) with the help of Edward Salomon, a New York attorney and former governor of Wisconsin, and dedicated itself to providing “legal aid and assistance gratuitously to those of German birth who may appear worthy thereof, but who are unable to procure it due to poverty.”


The Legal Aid Society offers civil legal assistance as well as criminal defense and juvenile counsel in Family Court. The organization’s main goal is to provide free legal services to New Yorkers who are poor or on the verge of becoming poor and cannot afford to employ a lawyer when faced with a legal issue. Every year, it handles over 200,000 indigent criminal cases, acts as an attorney for over 30,000 children, and represents families, individuals, and community groups in over 30,000 instances.

Legal Aid also represents thousands of welfare clients, foster children, homeless families, the elderly poor, Rikers Island convicts, and other prisoners in important class action lawsuits.

Along with New York County Defender Services in Manhattan, Brooklyn Defender Services in Brooklyn, Bronx Defenders in the Bronx, Queens Law Associates in Queens, and the Neighborhood Defender Service in northern Manhattan, the Legal Aid Society is the city’s primary provider of criminal legal aid contract attorneys. In fiscal year 2014, Legal Aid handled 225,776 cases in New York City, resulting in a total of $102.5 million in compensation from the city (an average of $454 per case).

The Deutscher Rechts-Schutz Verein, led by Arthur von Briesen, opened its doors to anyone, regardless of cultural origin, in 1890. Von Briesen legally changed the name of the organization to the Legal Aid Society six years later.


The Star Chamber (c. 1350);

The Right to Counsel in State Court (1963).


Legal Aid Societies 1876 German immigrants

A Brief Review of Civil Legal Aid History

The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – Illustrated, 22 Oct. 2015, English edition by Michael H. Roffer (Autor)