About Us


The Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law provides opportunities for students interested in children’s and family law issues to pursue their interests and serve the community through policy research and advocacy, individual client representation, and writing.

Policy Work

Students in the Abbey Institute have worked on policy matters involving children and families.

  • In 2018-19, students researched and wrote on proposed New York State legislation concerning legalizing gestational surrogacy; immunizing children, in light of recent measles outbreaks; and juvenile justice reform.
  • In 2016-17, students contributed to a conference on Family, Gender and Juvenile Justice, which was co-sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund-NY. Please click here for more information about this project.
  • In 2015-16, the Abbey Institute partnered with the Children’s Law Center and other agencies and organizations, including Lawyers for Children, the Legal Aid Society, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and New York City Family Court, to help plan for a day-long symposium titled Beyond Permanency: Challenges for Former Foster Youth, and Legal Reform. Students conducted legal and policy research, wrote articles for a journal, and worked on legislation. Please click here for more information about the symposium and journal.

Legal Services

  • Marriage License Project: The Abbey Institute provides free legal services to individuals who were denied a marriage license because they are victims of identity theft, in that someone else fraudulently used the individual’s name to get married. Clients learn about the Abbey Institute’s services from the New York City Clerk’s Office. Appeals are filed with the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.  Students interview clients and prepare administrative appeals.  When a hearing is ordered, students appear on the record at the hearing. Please click here for more information.
  • Volunteer Attorney Program, Brooklyn Family Court: Students have participated in the New York State Access to Justice Volunteer Attorney Program in Brooklyn Family Court. Please click here for more information about the Volunteer Attorney Program.