Our Mission and History

Our Mission

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

Mobilization for Justice’s (MFJ) mission is to achieve justice for all. MFJ prioritizes the needs of people who are low-income, disenfranchised, or have disabilities as they struggle to overcome the effects of social injustice and systemic racism. We provide the highest-quality free, direct civil legal assistance, conduct community education and build partnerships, engage in policy advocacy, and bring impact litigation. MFJ also promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplace, and understands the need to eliminate all racial disparities to achieve justice for all.

Our History

Mobilization for Justice has been providing civil legal services to poor and low income New Yorkers for over five decades. We 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.

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.

From our beginnings in a storefront on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and throughout our history, we forged a new model of legal representation for the poor – combining direct service with impact litigation to address the underlying inequities facing our clients. 

In 2017 we changed our name to Mobilization for Justice to better reflect the expanded scope of our work while honoring our roots. In 2018, we launched our first office in the Bronx, serving one of the poorest communities in the country.

Learn more about our history and our current work in this brief video.

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.