New Leadership Program

The Legal Aid Society, the oldest and largest non-profit organization in the United States providing free legal services to low-income families and individuals, is launching a New Leadership Program for the next generation of leaders and philanthropists, which will connect young professionals and emerging leaders through philanthropic events and networking opportunities.

“The launch of the Program is super exciting,” says Svetlana Eisenberg, Co-Chair of the New Leadership Program and Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. “Through my work on several civil rights cases (on which Debevoise and The Legal Aid Society are co-counsel), I have had the opportunity to see what an enormous difference the Society makes in the lives of struggling New Yorkers. Now, the Society is creating a unique program for young professionals that does not only seek their continued support but also offers something in return, including terrific networking opportunities, exclusive events and speaker series, and fun events like a charity spinning class (!).”

“At a time when we are only able to help one out of every nine low-income New Yorkers who seek our civil legal aid because of our lack of resources and the increasing need for our services due to the continuing economic downturn, we are very grateful for this critical support from this new generation of leaders and philanthropists,” said Steven Banks, the Society’s Attorney-in-Chief. “With the support of these new leaders in combination with the work of our dedicated staff and our pro bono programs, we hope to bridge the access to justice gap for low-income families and individuals who desperately need our legal help to save their homes from wrongful evictions and foreclosures, escape from domestic violence, obtain assistance while they are serving in the military or returning from active duty, or receive essential support and services to which senior citizens and children adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses are entitled” Banks added.

The Society’s New Leadership Program is comprised of young professionals and emerging leaders from the legal, financial, business and arts communities in New York City. Together, they contribute generously to the Society’s private fundraising efforts—without which the Society’s Civil Practice would be unable to handle annually some 44,000 cases and matters serving more than 100,000 adults and children and pursue law reform litigation benefiting all two million low-income families and individuals in New York City.

For New Leadership Board Member James Chambers of Apollo Global Management, getting involved was an easy decision: “When I first heard about The Legal Aid Society, I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved. I have been actively looking for a way to give back and help communities in New York City. The Society helps low-income New Yorkers navigate a complex legal system that can be a barrier to putting food on the table for their families. The attorneys at Legal Aid are some of the best and most dedicated in the country. They work to ensure fair outcomes for clients—regardless of the clients’ economic status. Having a part in this tremendous organization gives me an invaluable sense of satisfaction."

“I see the NLP as a great vehicle for young professionals to make a difference in our communities,” says Co-Chair Alberto Rodriguez of Baker & Hostetler LLP, “particularly in expanding access to superior legal representation to those New Yorkers with the greatest need.”

New Leaders help The Legal Aid Society through annual fundraising, acting as ambassadors for the mission of the Society and participating in various community service and pro bono projects. Through a tiered-giving program, New Leaders may choose from various levels of support. New tLeaders who join the Society’s New Leadership Program can:

  • Be the first to know about the most pressing issues facing New Yorkers.
  • Make a difference in New York City.
  • Be recognized as a leader in their industry and community.
  • Receive invitations to exclusive events and networking opportunities.

Co-Chair Svetlana Eisenberg is excited about the future of support for the Society thanks to a great group of New Leaders: “Over the course of the last six months, I have had the good fortune of getting to know some of the members of the program. This is an accomplished group of people with great energy, ideas, and enthusiasm about what we can do together to advance the mission of the Society.”

As part of this new initiative, The Legal Aid Society has created a new section on its website to provide information about the New Leadership Program, including how to become a New Leader. That section is located in the fundraising section of the Legal Aid website: New Leadership Program.