The Urban Justice Center is a non-profit legal services and advocacy organization serving the New York City area. It is known as an incubator for progressive programs and initiatives and for being a significant legal presence in the struggles of New York's poverty stricken and minority populations. Urban Justice Center won the 2020 Webby People’s Voice Award for Law in the category Web.
Founded in 1984 as the Legal Action Center for the Homeless by Douglas Lasdon, the Urban Justice Center (UJC) works for vulnerable New Yorkers through direct civil legal, political organizing, legislative advocacy and policy education. Some of the UJC's important legal victories in aid of the indigent include Doe v. City of New York, Tolle v. Dinkins, and joint legal action with other groups against the Grand Central Partnership and the 34th Street Partnership for hiring homeless employees at $1 an hour. The UJC's community building and immigrant aid programming was also recently recognized by New York City by their naming as finalists in the Competition THRIVE.
Originally operating from a burned-out building in Harlem staffed only by Lasdon the UJC has relocated to Lower Manhattan and as of 2013 has a staff of over 100 with an operating budget of over $7.5 million. The UJC has provided 96,000 people with community legal education and has closed 8,881 cases thus far. Real estate deals undertaken by Lasdon in 2007 led to the $5.7 million sale, close to 10 times the initial amount paid for, of the UJC office space at 666 Broadway in 1997. The UJC's headquarters are located on Rector Street, and were purchased with its real estate profits and a $5 million grant from New York City.
The UJC sponsors the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), which works to organize law students and lawyers to develop and enforce legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. They have offices in New York City, Jordan, and Lebanon. IRAP is a plaintiff in the 2017 decision International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump and co-counsel in Darweesh v. Trump.