ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Legal Project has grown under the leadership of Lisa Frisch, an inspiring woman helping many in the Capital Region find safety from abusive partners.

“All of our clients make clear to us why we’re here,” says Frisch, Executive Director of the Legal Project

A question victims of domestic violence often hear: Why didn’t you just leave?

But, the answer is rarely that simple.

Frisch leads an organization dedicated to helping people find safety and independence.

“Having services that are specialized around domestic violence has made a tremendous difference,” Frisch says.

Lisa Frisch came to the Capital Region in the 1970’s to study criminal justice and ended up working for the New York State office for prevention of domestic violence.

That’s when she got the call about a new nonprofit being set up called the Legal Project.

“It was extremely important to me because I saw on the state wide level what was missing for victims of domestic violence,” Frisch says.

What was missing was equal footing in the courtroom.

“The Legal Project was really put into place to help the working poor and domestic violence victims who on paper may not be eligible for other services but their abusive partner will not let them have access to the funds,” Frisch says.

Some 4,000 people are helped each year through a network of hundreds of volunteer attorneys, providing more than $1 million worth of free civil legal services each year.

But, there’s no price you can put on saving someone from a lifetime of abuse.

“They say you gave me my life back, you helped me find freedom again, you allowed me to go on and be happy again and that makes all the difference,” Frisch says.

Frisch has been executive director of the Legal Project for 14 of its 22 years, expanding services to focus on those in danger of losing their homes, going bankrupt and specialized issues facing veterans and immigrants.

But, she points out she is fortunate to work alongside many people who feel like she does, about how important it is to give back.

“When you think about the volunteers, the staff here, our board, our supporters, and most importantly our clients, to have the courage to reach out to ask for help, and are able to then move on with their lives, they are the inspirations to me,” Frisch says.

Right now, the Legal Project has a $50,000 matching grant: