The Door’s Legal Services Center provides cutting-edge advocacy to young people ages 12 to 24—consisting of a team of nearly 40—including attorneys, social workers, paralegals and administrative assistants. Our staffing has expanded to include paralegals and social workers, and our work has grown to include representation of young people in federal detention facilities.
Established in 1992 to address the lack of free legal assistance for youth in New York City, the center addresses the civil legal needs of our clients, including immigration, foster care, housing, and public benefits, among others. The Center provides a broad range of counsel and advocacy services to young people.
How to Get Help
The first step to getting legal help is to become a Door member. Becoming a Door member is free and can happen virtually! Visit our Membership page to become a member.
The Door’s Legal Services Center staff work in-person and remotely on client cases. You can still reach your attorneys, social workers, and case handlers via email or their usual phone number. Many court hearings and immigration appointments have been delayed at this time. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about your case.
Also, please reach out if you have questions about what types of benefits you may be eligible for in relation to COVID-19, or if you’re in need of additional support during this time.
Are you a recent immigrant ages 12-24, undocumented (living in the United States without the proper paperwork), or currently in Immigration Court proceedings?
The Door’s Legal Services Center is here to provide you with different kinds of legal support. We offer services in English, Spanish and French, and can access translators for many other languages. Our advocacy team is comprised of attorneys, legal fellows, social workers, paralegals and administrative assistants who work collaboratively to advocate for youth in their immigration cases. We also connect our clients to wrap-around in house-services and empower our clients on their path to adulthood.
Our Legal Teams
The Affirmative Team
The Affirmative Team provides holistic immigration representation to New York youth who are seeking immigration benefits, including (but not limited to) DACA, SIJS, Asylum, U Visas, T Visas, VAWA, Adjustment of Status, and Work Authorization. We represent our clients before USCIS and NYS Family Court.
We also provide immigration representation to youth in foster care. If you are a young person in foster care, or if you are a foster care agency caseworker, ACS caseworker, or you otherwise work with a young person in foster care, please fill out a referral and someone from our team will reach out to set up a virtual consultation.
The Removal Defense Team
The Removal Defense Team represents young people who are placed in deportation proceedings. We represent Unaccompanied Minors and other young adults who are fleeing violence and mistreatment in their home countries. In many of our cases, the young people we represent are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum and other forms of humanitarian immigration relief. We represent clients in New York City Immigration Courts and New York State Family Courts, including Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The Detained Minors Project
The Detained Minors Project at The Door is a legal services provider (LSP) contracted by the Vera Institute of Justice to provide representation and other legal services to minors detained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in several New York-area facilities. In this capacity, The Door provides Know Your Rights trainings and legal screenings for children and youth who are detained in New York as well as legal representation in some instances, in immigration court, applications for immigration relief, and federal court. The Door provides referrals to minors upon their release from custody and offers ongoing representation to those released locally. The Door collaborates with other organizations, law firms, and class counsel to protect the immigration, civil, and constitutional rights of minors while in government custody, to challenge unlawful or prolonged detention, and in the face of transfer to ICE custody.
Social Work Team
The Door’s Legal Services Center has four social workers embedded within our department who work with our affirmative, removal and detained minor teams. Our social workers work alongside attorneys and paralegals to meet our clients’ complex needs, develop case strategies and provide ongoing support. This support includes: making appropriate referrals, collaborating with outside organizations, assisting with particularly challenging client interviews, providing short-term supportive counseling and crisis management, drafting advocacy letters and affidavits, and occasionally attending court dates. The social work team also facilitates bi-weekly support groups in both French and Spanish to allow young people to build community with other immigrant youth. Our social workers provide invaluable support for the entire team at the Legal Services Center. This support includes providing trainings to staff and the community, as well as guiding other legal staff on how to approach each unique case through a trauma-informed lens.
The Door’s Legal Services Center provides legal advice, advocacy and representation on civil (non-criminal) legal issues that affect Door members. Some of the legal issues we regularly work on are family law, foster care, emancipation, landlord-tenant, public benefits, getting identification documents and taxes.
We offer a weekly legal clinic to Door members who are runaway or homeless youth (RHY) with pro bono volunteers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and a bi-weekly emancipation clinic with pro bono volunteers from Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.
In addition, The Door hosts a weekly Criminal Law Clinic. The Criminal Law Clinic can help young people with questions related to criminal law, including summons, tickets, missed court dates, warrants, ongoing Criminal Court cases, and past criminal matters.
Know Your Rights
It is important to understand your legal rights as a young person living in New York City. The Door’s Legal Services Center is here to provide you with different kinds of legal counsel. We offer services in English, Spanish, and French, and can access translators for many other languages. We can help if you are:
a recent immigrant, undocumented (living in the United States without the proper paperwork), or currently in deportation proceedings;
in foster care;
pregnant or caring for a child;
homeless and/or living without your parents, housing unstable, or having issues with your landlord;
in need of public benefits, such as Section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid or welfare, social security, etc.;
in need of help with family law issues such as paternity, child support, domestic violence, child custody; and visitation rights;
being victimized or stalked;
in need of proper forms of personal identification, such as a birth certificate, passport, non-driver’s license, etc., or if you need to change your name;
For Appointments, Questions, or to make a Referral
Call, text, or leave a voicemail: 929-237-9538
If you are not in need of legal services or do not qualify for legal services from The Door, we cannot guarantee a call back.
Criminal Law Clinic (virtual)
Virtual sessions, Thursdays, 3:00pm –6:00pm, Appointment required
Criminal Law Clinic (Bronx)
Every other Monday, 12:00pm-2:00pm, Bronx Youth Center—Appointment Required.
Mika De Roo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Runaway and Homeless Youth Legal Clinic
Wednesdays, 1:00pm-2:00pm, Manhattan Youth Center, 1st Floor.
In-person intake, usually every other Thursday, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Manhattan Youth Center, 3rd Floor. To schedule appointments, email Celina Munoz, email@example.com.