Mission & History
NHLA's mission is to fulfill America’s promise of equal justice by providing civil legal services to New Hampshire’s poor,including education and empowerment, advice, representation, and advocacy for systemic change.
We offer our clients high quality civil legal services to address the legal problems that affect their daily survival and most basic needs. These services range from simple legal information and advice to vigorous and thorough representation in all of New Hampshire's courts and before many of the local, state and federal agencies which play large roles in their lives. In providing legal services to the poor, NHLA helps balance the scales of justice for all citizens.
Origins. NHLA was created in 1971 through the merger of two smaller programs, Southern New Hampshire Legal Services and Tri-County Legal Services, which served the North Country. Since our founding NHLA has continuously enjoyed the steadfast support of the New Hampshire Bar Association and the New Hampshire judiciary.
Funding Resilience. In 1996, federal funding was drastically reduced and restrictions were added that would have barred NHLA from undertaking legislative advocacy and large-scale litigation. NHLA did not accept these funds, equivalent to half of its budget, but instead helped create the Legal Advice & Referral Center (LARC) to use the remaining funds within the new restrictions. Though two of NHLA's five offices closed, within two years NHLA replaced all lost funds with federal grants, first-time state support to re-open a North Country office, and other new funding.
Collaboration. Since 1997, recognizing the importance of coordination with the Pro Bono Program and LARC, the two other major legal services providers in the state, NHLA has been engaged in a joint comprehensive statewide planning process. In 2000, NHLA integrated its Board with LARC's Board. The Boards meet together, share officers and the same committee structure, and function as one policy creating and oversight body to unify the vision and direction of the two agencies.