About Us
Program Services
Community Outreach
Self-Help Materials
Video & Audio Clips
Translate Site


Reflections From Our
Executive Director

40th Years of Service & Justice"


In the late 1960's, 36 attorneys in Erie County believed in the notion of equal justice under law. To make this notion a reality, they organized and incorporated the Erie County Legal Services Association, now known as Northwestern Legal Services. Access to justice was not only their dream but was, and still is, a reality. Forty years ago, many of us were doing other things. For instance, I was still in high school. Some of the staff members at Northwestern Legal Services delight at reminding me that they were yet to be born. I am humbled by the commitment and dream of these 38 attorneys, who we recognize on this, our 40th anniversary. Over the years, Northwestern Legal Services, now serving 10 counties, helped countless low income people with their legal problems giving them access to justice.

Although these 38 attorneys signed the incorporation papers and performed pro bono services, we must also recognize the staff that kept the dream alive over these 40 years. Our volunteer board has also contributed greatly to our mission and helped us move toward achieving our goals. I would also like to recognize the attorneys that give their time pro bono to help our client community, the wonderful support we receive from the Erie County Bar Association, and the support we receive from the entire community.

On May 7, 2009 we held an Anniversary Reception and Celebration and invite you to view our commemorative video which provides an overview of the history of how NWLS first began, along with our photo gallery from the event.

Robert A. Oakley, Esquire
Executive Director

Very truly yours,

Robert A. Oakley, Esq.
NWLS Executive Director