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Common Law’s mission is to make clients more powerful by demystifying the laws and policies that affect their lives and making it easy for clients to participate in organizing efforts.
Common Law began around a small kitchen table in an apartment in Queens, New York. As we – three friends from law school – talked over dinner, the conversation focused on how lawyers could support community organizers in their struggle against social, racial and economic injustices. We agreed that there was a need for a new type of lawyering that moves away from a charity model and links individual casework with movement building. We felt that traditional legal representation models often excluded the client from participating in the judicial system and we wanted to make knowledge of the law more common and accessible to communities that had traditionally been marginalized by the legal world. With nothing to lose, we decided to pursue our vision. The rest of the evening and the months that followed were devoted to brainstorming and building what is now Common Law.
Today, Common Law is exactly what we had hoped it would become. We provide legal services to ordinary folks who, as members of grassroots organizations, mobilize around the social justice goals of low-income communities of color throughout New York City. We look forward to the continued growth of Common Law.