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 through policy research and advocacy, individual client representation, and writing. The Abbey Institute serves the community through policy work and events programming, and also provides free legal services to identity theft victims who have been wrongfully deprived of the ability to get married.

Policy Work

Each year, the Abbey Institute works on a policy matter involving children and families.

  • 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.
  • 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. Students are currently preparing a written report on the discussion at this event and recommendations for reform. Please click here for more information about this project.

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.