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 deliver opening and closing statements, examine witnesses and introduce exhibits.
Since the project began in fall 2013, more than 20 students and alumni have helped more than 35 individuals to obtain marriage licenses or domestic partnerships.