Legal Services of New Jersey: History

Attractive report with many photos, chronology of milestones, and national context. (61-page PDF)

Item details

Focus organization: Legal Services of New Jersey
Publisher: Legal Services of New Jersey
Date (approx.): Dec 7, 2017
Actual title: Fifty Years Advancing Justice: New Jersey Legal Services' First Five Decades
Collection: Organization histories
Format: Report
State: NJ
Law type: Civil
Content availability: Full text: PDF here
File: Download
External link:
Last modified: 2023-02-01 07:12



The first legal aid societies began to emerge nationally after the Civil War. Growth of such efforts in New Jersey did not emerge for another 50 years. In general, bar association-affiliated legal aid societies were open for limited hours, staffed by volunteers. In some of the largest cities, private funds supported some paid staff. Typical services were limited to advice. Rarely, and only in a few of the largest cities, were some court appearances made.

Over the course of the next 50 years, Legal Services in New Jersey, coordinated by LSNJ, was transformed from a predominantly voluntary, part-time, advice and very limited representation model to a system that was principally publicly funded, staffed full-time, and geared to providing full representation to the conclusion of a matter.

In 2016, LSNJ reached its 50 year milestone anniversary. It marked this special occasion by unveiling a new website intended to preserve the rich history of the program and to honor those who have made extraordinary achievements in advancing equal justice. The purpose of this New Jersey Equal Justice Library and Archive (NJEJLA) is to chronicle New Jersey’s arc of justice for use by researchers, students, future advocates, and members of the public. As its collections increase, the NJEJLA will constitute a trove of material on the state’s continuous journey toward achieving greater justice for all people, with a special focus on those who have been the targets of discrimination, who are disadvantaged, or who are otherwise members of vulnerable populations. For more detailed information about the history of Legal Services in New Jersey, a listing of milepost cases, and the major figures honored for their contributions to equal justice, visit