About Us

LeGaL was one of the nation’s first bar associations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal community and remains one of the largest and most active organizations of its kind in the country.

Mission Statement

Focused on the greater New York metropolitan area, LeGaL is dedicated to improving the administration of the law, ensuring full equality for members of the LGBT community, promoting the expertise and advancement of LGBT legal professionals, and serving the larger community.

our commitment to the Community

Educating the public on legal issues facing LGBT people;

Fostering membership participation in pro bono activities benefiting the LGBT community;

Eliminating homophobia and transphobia in the justice system;

Encouraging judicial and other governmental appointment of those who oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;

Encouraging members of the LGBT community to choose law as a career;

Promoting solidarity among members of the LGBT legal community.


In May 1978, ten people met in Professor Art Leonard’s living room and formed the New York Law Group, which met on a monthly basis for informal social gatherings. Art began publishing a newsletter, the “Law Group Notes,” reporting on lesbian and gay community events and legal developments. The group grew and, in 1984, incorporated as the Bar Association for Human Rights. The name was changed to the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York in 1991, before becoming the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL) in 2006. Over the years our name has changed to better reflect the diversity of our mission, of our membership, and of the communities we seek to serve.

In 1994, the LeGaL Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was formed with Erica Bell as its founding President. Through the Foundation, the organization publishes LGBT Law Notes, conducts several walk-in pro bono legal clinics, sponsors the Dr. M.L. Hank Henry, Jr. Fund for Judicial Fellowships, and, among its many other activities, runs the area’s only career fair dedicated to first-year LGBT law students.

about our work

Annual Report

For 40 years, LeGaL has been proudly dedicated to serving its members and the LGBTQ community through our educational programs, advocacy, and legal services. Our 2017-2018 Annual Report provides an in-depth look at these vital services. VIEW HERE →

Video Testimonials

LeGaL is dedicated to improving the administration of the law and ensuring full equality for members of the LGBT community. Learn about our free legal services programs through interviews with our clients and volunteers. VIEW HERE →

Video Testimonials

LeGaL Fights for LGBT Families

LeGaL was part of the legal team that secured a sea change in state law for nonbiological parents and continues to fight for LGBT families. 

LeGaL’s Legal Services Programs

The true test of any community is the extent to which it takes care of its members. LeGaL provides meaningful legal services like holistic consultations, referrals, and representation, where possible, to members of our community.

Our Staff & Board

Learn more about the people behind LeGaL.

Learn More

LeGaL Foundation

The LeGaL Foundation is an independent tax-exempt charity, crated in 1995 to support, protect, and serve the LGBTQ community.

News/Press Releases

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