The Western New York Law Center

Fighting Injustice Within Our Community

Our mission is to assure that all members of our community receive the full range of civil legal services including "non-traditional" legal assistance like policy advocacy and legal education.

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Thank You to Our Summer Interns!

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Matthew Duke

Rising 3L
University of Buffalo Law

Anjali Boohit

Prelaw Undergraduate
University of Buffalo

Mike Battenfeld

Rising 2L
University of Buffalo Law

Interested in becoming an intern with the Western New York Law Center? Fill out our contact form below!

News Posts

Click the button below to see a collection of our archived news posts

We Are a Dynamic, Progressive Legal Services Agency Dedicated to Protecting Our Community

The Western New York Law Center was formed in 1996 after Congress restricted the types of cases that Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees could handle. We represent low-income Western New Yorkers in civil matters, emphasizing those areas restricted by LSC. 

A History of Service

Buffalo State College Community Scholars in Action Certificate
2000

New York Bar Foundation Grant Recipient
2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018

National Community
Reinvestment Award
2017

The WNYLC 25th Anniversary

In 2021 the Western New York Law Center celebrated it’s 25th anniversary.

Services

What We Do

Foreclosure Defense

Our office represents homeowners facing mortgage and tax foreclosure to attempt to keep them in their homes whenever possible or to explore other options available if retaining the home is not feasible.  We also assist with surplus monies proceedings where we help homeowners claim the money left over from the foreclosure sale of their properties after the mortgage or tax debts have been paid.

Consumer Debt Defense

The Western New York Law Center’s Consumer Debt Defense Department provides an array of legal services through both full representation and limited scope representation (via the CLARO-Buffalo legal clinic) to clients that have consumer debt in collections and clients who were sued on a debt.  Our Attorneys also bring affirmative claims against debt collectors, debt buyers and creditors; provide post-judgment defense against wage or bank account garnishment, repossession, levies and/or other collection methods; and are instrumental in legislative, regulatory, and court reform efforts, appellate work, and class action lawsuits.

Bankruptcy

The Western New York Law Center provides free Chapter 7 bankruptcy services to low-income individuals  who are unable to meet their financial obligations to get a fresh financial start. We assist consumers who would otherwise not be able to afford legal counsel by providing a confidential consultation to assess their financial situation and discuss available options, preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions, and step-by-step guidance to help debtors through the often complicated process.

Eviction
Prevention

The Law Center represents low-income Western New York tenants facing eviction in nonpayment and holdover proceedings. We ensure tenants receive adequate pre-commencement notices and that their rights are protected throughout the legal proceeding. Our goal is to keep tenants in their homes wherever possible by raising valid defenses to delay, pause, or even prevent an eviction, or by negotiating a settlement with the landlord. When a settlement is not possible, we advocate to give tenants adequate time to move out while preventing an eviction on their record. 

Small Business
Legal Clinic

The Small Business Legal Clinic is a non-profit service for small business owners and entrepreneurs in Erie and Niagara Counties. We offer services such as LLC formation, contract negotiation, and legal advice.

Vacant & Abandoned Homes

The Vacant and Abandoned Properties Department comprises of multiple projects addressing vacant and abandoned and zombie properties across Erie County and WNY. The overarching goal of this Department is to address vacancy and blight in a comprehensive and collaborative way. Using a proactive approach, we prioritize community need and input, and seek to preserve home ownership and generational wealth wherever possible.

Coalitions

The WNYLC has co-founded and joined several groups advocating for social and economic justice, fighting for equality, and improving the conditions of our communities. These coalitions include: the Buffalo Niagara Community Reinvestment Coalition (BNCRC), New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL), the Erie County Zombies Foreclosure Task Force, and the Distressed Properties Task Force.

Significant Litigation & Projects

The WNYLC engages in political advocacy and impact litigation in order to effectuate systemic changes. We fight for social and economic justice for low-income clients, communities of color, and marginalized groups. 

School Discipline
Project

Do you need help with a short term suspension or other matter? Call the Buffalo Suspension Intake Hotline for other help

We Stand in Solidarity and Support BLM

The Western New York Law Center joins the community in lifting up the memory of the ten victims of the 5/14 white supremacist attack in the City of Buffalo. The pain in our community extends much further back than this recent tragedy. This horrendous act of terrorism reopened deep racial wounds and laid bare the lingering effects of a shameful history of residential segregation and systemic racism which, among other inequities, led to the ghettoization of Buffalo’s East Side.

As an organization, we acknowledge the complicity with racism within the legal system, and the barriers that limit access for marginalized communities. To achieve social justice for all, people and institutions must be subject and accountable to our laws, and our laws must be fairly applied and fairly enforced.

We stand in solidarity with the members of our community who bear the weight of oppression and an unequal justice system, and join them in demanding justice for the hundreds of Black people targeted and killed by law enforcement and vigilante violence because of the color of their skin. Specifically, we remember George Floyd, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Breonna Taylor. At this crucial moment in history, we renew our commitment to advocate for meaningful reforms and policies that address racial and economic injustice, and to create safe and inclusive communities within and outside our organization.

We support the right to protest and call on all members of our community to challenge racism in all its forms.

Black Lives Matter

Thank You to the Organizations that Have Funded the Law Center

The American College of Bankruptcy Foundation

The American College of Bankruptcy Foundation

The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation

The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Erie County Clerk's Office

Erie County Clerk's Office

Erie County Legislature

Erie County Legislature

Fordham University

Fordham University

The John R. Oishei Foundation

The John R. Oishei Foundation

The KeyBank Foundation

The KeyBank Foundation

The New York State Attorney General's Office

The New York State Attorney General's Office

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

NYS Interest on Lawyer Account Fund (IOLA)

NYS Interest on Lawyer Account Fund (IOLA)

Office of Court Administration

Office of Court Administration

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Research Foundation of State University College at Buffalo

The Research Foundation of State University College at Buffalo

The New York Bar Foundation

The New York Bar Foundation

The Tower Foundation

The Tower Foundation

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County

Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund

Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund

The WNY Foundation

The WNY Foundation

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation

Upcoming Events

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Help the WNYLC Put a Stop to Injustice in Our Community

Contact Us!

Email Us!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Call Us!

716.855.0203

Office Hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm
Or By Appointment

Our Address

By Appointment Only

37 Franklin Street
2nd Floor, Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202

(Look for us behind Pearl Street)

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Nothing on this or associated pages should be taken as legal advice by any entity for any individual case or situation. Using this website or communicating with Western New York Law Center does not form an attorney-client relationship. There is no attorney-client relationship unless and until you sign an agreement confirming the nature and scope of representation.

Please do not act or refrain from acting based on information or materials on this site. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.