The Western New York Law Center, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1996 after Congress restricted the types of cases that Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees could handle. The Center represents low-income Western New Yorkers in civil matters, emphasizing those areas restricted by LSC. Our vision and mission with respect to our legal work is to assure that low-income people receive the full range of civil legal services including “non-traditional” legal assistance like policy advocacy and legal education. The Center also serves as a statewide technology support center for legal services programs. Our vision and mission with respect to our technology work is to help legal services offices statewide use technology in a cost effective manner to better serve their clients in this time of diminishing resources. Our target populations are legal services managers, attorneys, paralegals, clients and support staff.
Our Work – Legal
As part of our legal work, WNYLC engages in direct representation of homeowners facing foreclosure as well as in fair lending advocacy and education and outreach to community residents and real estate professionals. We also file class action litigation on behalf of our clients. Two of our recent cases are Martin v. Weiner, 06-CV-00094E, a class action case filed on behalf of Erie County NY residents whose applications for public assistance were not being processed in a timely manner. We litigated that case with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, http://www.nclej.org, and are monitoring the settlement. Kari C. and April M. v. Muller, 6:09-CV-06367 is a class action case filed on behalf of residents in Steuben County and dealt with the timely processing of public assistance applications. That case was also litigated with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and we are monitoring the settlement provisions in that case.
As part of our legal work, we supervise a consumer walk-in clinic in the community, where consumers can come in and receive legal advice and often drafted papers which they can file in court. In connection with this clinic, we appear twice weekly in Buffalo City Court to represent any consumer who needs our assistance. More information can be found on another of our websites, http://clarobuffalo.org/
Our Work – Technology
We host email discussion groups for the legal services community. Those lists knit advocates into an online community so they can ask questions about cases they are handling.
We provide a case management system free of charge to IOLA grantees. This system is available to non-IOLA grantees for a small charge, and all fees generated from the system are put back into further development and updating of the system. The system can run on individual machines, or a a wide area network so that advocates in several program offices can access it remotely. It performs conflict checks, generates IOLA and LSC reports, generates form letters, does automatic income eligibility checks and stores documents electronically.
We also provide email addresses, with a wnylc.com extension and with other domain extensions, for IOLA funded grantees in NYS. The email accounts are hosted on our Linux server which is attached to two high speed fiber connections. Email is passed through two mirrored Barracuda appliances and is filtered for spam and viruses. The Barracudas are automatically updated hourly, and if one appliance is offline, the other takes over so email is almost never interrupted. IOLA grantees who do not host their email on the WNYLC server are welcome to use the barracuda appliances for email filtering.
If you would like to donate to our work, you can do so here: