Our Mission and History

Our Mission

Mobilization for Justice envisions a society in which there is equal justice for all.

Mobilization for Justice’s mission is to achieve social justice, prioritizing the needs of people who are low-income, disenfranchised or have disabilities. We do this by providing the highest quality direct civil legal assistance, conducting community education and building partnerships, engaging in policy advocacy, and bringing impact litigation.


Mobilization for Justice began as the legal arm of Mobilization for Youth, a large community-based anti-poverty program founded in 1962. The legal unit was founded on the principle of equal access to justice through community-based legal representation of poor New Yorkers. Working in concert with neighborhood social service providers and community advocates, we reach out to those most in need to help resolve the problems faced by large numbers of low-income New Yorkers: housing, public benefits, consumer, employment, civil rights, disability rights, and family matters. We provide advice and representation to thousands of New Yorkers each year and initiate affirmative litigation that impacts many thousands of people.

To extend our reach even further, we provide community-based legal education to social service providers, workers’ centers, and community advocates while creating a wide array of volunteer opportunities for private attorneys and law students to furnish pro bono assistance on individual and class action cases.

In 1968, we began an independent organization, incorporated as MFY Legal Services, Inc. When the federal Office of Economic Opportunity began funding community-based legal services programs, Our model became the prototype for hundreds of new programs. By our 25th anniversary in 1988, MFY Legal Services was recognized as a national leader in poverty law, having served tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers and won numerous test cases.

In 2017 we changed our name to Mobilization for Justice to better reflect the expanded scope of our work while honoring our roots.

Our First Director

Read about MFY’s pioneering first Director, Edward Sparer, and the vision that led to the development of the legal services social justice movement throughout the nation.

Mobilization for Justice/MFY – Through the Years

From our beginnings in a storefront on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and throughout our history, MFY Legal Services forged a new model of legal representation for the poor – combining direct service with impact litigation to address the underlying inequities facing our clients. Read about MFY’s roots in Mobilization for Youth, the battle for due process for the poor, and how our original vision remains our guiding force today.

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MFY Legal Services – 50th Anniversa