That’s the ratio of low-income Californians to legal aid attorneys in the state. The vast majority of people eligible for legal aid don’t have access to representation for critical needs because legal services organizations (LSOs) are underfunded and overworked.
Many in the private bar are passionate about joining LSOs in this battle, but they face barriers to getting involved. Time constraints, inability to travel to underserved areas, risk management and insurance concerns, and unfamiliarity with the relevant legal issues stifle enthusiasm. Most critically, limited access to meaningful, effective opportunities keeps some pro bono attorneys away from those who most need their help.
For overstretched LSO’s, managing volunteers is time- and resource-intensive. It also requires a specific knowledge of law firm policies and operations and of the time and expertise limitations of lawyer volunteers.
Both sides of this equation need innovative programs designed to remove barriers to entry for pro bono volunteers and reduce the workload of LSOs.
That's where The Access Project comes in.
Leveraging cloud technology, online drafting platforms, hands-on training and a strong network, The Access Project acts as a connector among law firms, the legal services community, and those in need.
Our programs enhance the ability of the private bar to provide pro bono services to underserved Californians. These programs complement and support the work of existing legal services organizations around the state, reimagining the relationship between the pro bono and legal services communities.
We design programs with the challenges of pro bono participation in mind, and we stay involved at every step to address the needs of everyone involved – the volunteers, the legal services professionals, and most important, the clients.