The Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc. (VLP) provides free help with civil (non-criminal) legal problems to low-income community members in Onondaga County.
Most of our services are provided out in the community at legal clinics where volunteer attorneys provide free legal advice, information, referrals and limited assistance we preparing court forms. In a small number of cases, VLP is able to find a volunteer lawyer for ongoing assistance.
We provide free legal help in the following areas and/or to the follow populations:
- General Legal Advice (Talk to a Lawyer Program)
- Family Law
- Guardianship (17-A only)
- LGBTQ Legal Issues
- Not for Profit Advocacy
- Say Yes to Education Families
- Wills, Trusts, Estates and Surrogate Court
General Legal Advice (Talk to a Lawyer Program)
Our Free Drop-in Talk to a Lawyer Program gives you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an experienced lawyer who will give you legal advice, information and referrals.
Our clinics are located throughout the community at community partner sites and also are available via telephone. Locations and times are as follows:
Brown Memorial Church
228 Davis Street, Syracuse
Mondays: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
McKinley-Brighton Elementary School
141 W. Newell Street, Syracuse
Tuesdays: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
When school is in session
St. Matthews Church
229 W. Yates, East Syracuse
Tuesdays: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Amaus Health Services
Across the street from 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse
Wednesdays: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Tel-Law Telephone-Based Clinic
1st Weds of Month: 3:30 – 5:00 PM call 807-9047
2nd Weds of Month: 1:00 – 4:00 PM call 471-3409
3rd Weds of Month: 3:30 – 5:00 PM call 807-9047
Westcott Community Center
826 Euclid Ave., Syracuse
Thursdays: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Dr. King Magnet School
416 E. Raynor Ave, Syracuse
Thursdays: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
When school is in session
We assist low-income Onondaga County residents in seeking uncontested divorces. In order to qualify for the program, you must have already separated any personal property and not be seeking spousal maintenance (alimony). If you have children, you must already have your orders of child custody and support.
Intake for the program is done on a rolling basis. Call the VLP intake line at 471-3409 to see if you qualify.
We represent low-income tenants facing eviction in Syracuse City Court. Most days we provide a lawyer-of-the-day. Intakes are conducted at the courthouse and cases are generally taken on a first-come, first-served basis as long as the attorney does not have a conflict. Call 471-3409 for more information.
Our volunteer attorneys provide to low-income people free legal assistance and advice with completing petitions for child custody, visitation and support in Family Court. This is a limited-representation clinic, so assistance is limited to what is provided during the clinic. Attorneys do not appear in court with the clients.
Family Court Clinic times and location:
Wednesday 12:00 – 3:00 PM in Room 116 at the Onondaga County Courthouse, 401 Montgomery St., Syracuse, NY 13202
Volunteer immigration attorneys provide in-depth immigration law advice and counsel to any low-income community members with immigration questions. Advice takes place in a clinic setting. Clinics occur three times a year at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program.
Contact the VLP intake line at 471-3409 for more information.
This clinic is sponsored by the Update NY Chapter of AILA.
LGBTQ Legal Issues
Our volunteer attorneys help low-income clients with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer legal issues, including name changes, second-parent adoptions, harassment and employment discrimination. Please call 579-2576 for an intake.
Not for Profit Advocacy
Our volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance to not for profits including during incorporation, By-Laws revisions, and dissolution. To qualify, the organization must have assets or revenue of less than $60,000 and their work must be designed predominantly to address the needs of the low-income community.
Say Yes to Education Families
We are committed to providing critical legal assistance to address legal needs that affect the stability of the home and could act as a barrier to a student’s success. All of our services form part of the Say Yes holistic model of service provision aimed at support Syracuse City School District students with graduating and continuing on to college. We provide these services through our school-based and community-based drop in clinics as well as our family law and eviction defense programs. If you have questions about how we might be able to help your family, please contact our intake like at 471-3409.
Surrogate’s Court (small estates, 17-A guardianship, and other matters)
Volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance with completing small estates, 17-A guardianship and safe deposit box petitions in Surrogate’s Court. Attorneys also provide advice and counsel on other wills, trusts and estates and elder law issues.
Surrogate’s Court Clinic takes place in the Surrogate’s Court Jury Room on the 2nd floor of the Onondaga County Courthouse, 401 Montgomery St., Syracuse NY.
Clinic occurs the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month (except during holidays), from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Appointments encouraged but drop-ins possible. Call 471-3409 for more information.
Volunteer attorneys, most of whom are veterans themselves, provide legal advice, information and referrals to clients who are veterans or immediate family of veterans.
1st Wednesday of every month, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Located at the Vet Center, 109 Pine St., Syracuse NY