Our History

Our Roots and the Path NLS Has Been on to Provide Equal Justice for All

Prior to 1980, there were three small legal services organizations in Nevada – the Indian-Rural Legal Services Program located in Carson City; Washoe Legal Services in Reno; and Clark County Legal Services in Las Vegas. All three of these small programs received funding from the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”). In 1980, LSC determined that having three small programs were inefficient and not the best way to serve the State of Nevada. LSC forced a merger of the programs and told Nevada to create one statewide program. That process was completed in 1981 and Nevada Legal Services was born as the program to serve the entire state of Nevada. LSC awarded NLS all of the LSC funding from 1982 to the present. Washoe Legal Services decided that they would not merge into the larger program and gave up all of its federal funding to NLS. It remained a small program, serving residents of Washoe County doing mostly family law work.

Between 1981 and 1996, Nevada Legal Services was the main legal services organization in the State of Nevada. Then in 1996, Congress passed new, restrictive LSC regulations, forcing NLS to split off a portion of the staff and funding of the LSC program and re-establish Clark County Legal Services (that program changed its name to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada a few years ago because too many people assumed that it was an entity of the Clark County government). Washoe Legal Services remained in Reno.

Nevada Legal Services continues to be the pre-eminent legal services organization in the State of Nevada. Nevada Legal Services provides the full range of services to all seventeen counties in Nevada. NLS performs intake and outreach on a schedule established by each office. We travel to all corners of Nevada providing self-help clinics, legal seminars, and providing direct assistance to individual clients. Direct assistance can range from brief services (i.e. drafting a simple will) to representation at administrative hearings and in State, Tribal, and Federal Courts.

NLS has a number of toll-free numbers for general calls and special programs. The toll-free number for Clark, Nye, Lincoln, and Esmeralda Counties: 866-432-0404. The toll-free number for all other counties is 800-323-8666. 

NLS also has a host of projects to assist communities across Nevada. The Indian Law Program serves all 23 reservations in Nevada. The Indian Law Program provides legal representation in civil cases in Tribal, State, and Federal Courts and representation in criminal cases in Tribal Courts. The clients of the Indian Law Program are some of the most rural and isolated clients that we serve. NLS also has a Rural Consumer Law Project to help with consumer and foreclosure issues. We assist clients in rural areas of Nevada have relaxed income and asset eligibility rules. NLS has a Senior Law Project that provides legal assistance for all Senior residents of Washoe County and the northern rural Counties.  The Senior Law Project provides assistance to seniors regardless of income. Finally, NLS has a Pro Bono Program matching attorneys with clients who need legal representation free of charge.  You can check out more of our Law Projects by navigating to our What We Do page.

The Beginning

Three (3) legal services funded organizations in Nevada: CCLAS, WLS, and NIL, which changes to Nevad Indian-Rural Legal Services

1980

NLS Was Born

CCLAS and NIRLS are forced to merge and NLS is created

1981

Newt Gingrich becomes Speaker of the House after mid-term elections

1995

LSC Restrictions

LSC Restrictions put into place by Congress. CCLS created to operate without LSC and get all filing fees in Clark County.

1996

TRC Created

Tenant's Rights Center and Family Law Self Help Center created in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2000

Reno & Elko Offices Open

Prior to this the only offices were in Carson City, NV and Las Vegas, NV.

2003

Executive Director is Appointed

[brief write-up about Anna]

2008

Carson Merges into Reno Office

Budget cuts force a choice between laying off staff and closing an office. Carson staff merge into Reno and less staff are laid off.

2012

Yerington Office Opens

To assist with outreach to rural communities and expand pro bono services.

2014

Carson Office Re-Opens

After careful consideration due to an increase in demand for legal assistance the Carson office is once again opened and separated from it's previous merge with the NLS Reno office and its staff.

2015

Current

NLS has offices in Carson City, Reno, Yerington, Elko and, of course, Las Vegas, with a seperate Administrative Office due to increases in staff due to increases in the population of Nevada

Nevada's current population is over 3 million people statewide.

We have 25 attorneys, 17 advocate and support staff, and 8 administrative staff.

2019 - Present
Scroll to Top

Upcoming Events

No event found!