Our Story

Built for justice. Built for pro bono.

Our Mission

The City Bar Justice Center – the largest division of the New York City Bar Association’s charitable affiliate, the City Bar Fund – furthers access to justice by addressing unmet civil legal needs of New Yorkers struggling with poverty and other systemic socioeconomic barriers. The Justice Center mobilizes law firms, corporate legal departments, and other legal institutions to provide pro bono legal services; educates the public on pertinent legal issues; fosters strategic community relationships; and impacts public policy. The Justice Center’s dozen civil justice projects, including the most comprehensive civil legal hotline in New York, are led by a staff of dedicated attorneys and professionals who provide high-quality civil legal services through brief advice and information, referrals, and both limited scope and extended representation that benefit more than 23,000 New Yorkers each year.

Our Strategic Plan

In October 2023 the City Bar Justice Center proudly launched a new Strategic Plan for the coming three years – Honoring Our Roots, Revisioning Our Commitments. Our vision is to further innovate client-centered responses to the most pressing challenges and crises facing New Yorkers today; continue providing pro bono legal services with compassion and excellence; and use a data-driven approach to identify areas of unmet legal needs and leverage our in-house expertise and long-term partnerships to mobilize volunteers to expand our impact. Broader recognition of the Justice Center’s work will further our ability to increase equitable access to justice throughout New York City and beyond. Check out a summary of our strategic plan’s four main goals here!

Our History

CBJC is the largest department of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fund, Inc. (City Bar Fund), the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the New York City Bar Association (City Bar). CBJC’s origins date back to the 1980s when the City Bar created a community outreach program to provide direct representation to New Yorkers of limited economic resources. Later, the program was supplemented by a free legal hotline. These programs played a critical role in providing pro bono legal relief following the 9/11 disaster and thereafter were centralized into the City Bar Justice Center.