The Campaign for Justice seeks to bring together all members of the legal community to collectively support increasing access to justice, leveling the legal playing field, and strengthening the legal safety net for the most vulnerable.  

THREE WAYS YOU CAN CHOOSE JUSTICE RIGHT NOW

Contribute Statewide to Support All Legal Aid Offices

Donate to the Justice Gap Fund

 

Support Local Legal Aid Offices Directly

Direct your financial or pro bono support to nonprofit legal aid organizations

 

Designate Legal Aid as Your Cy Pres Beneficiary

Harness the power of cy pres by designating the Justice Gap Fund or your local legal office as a cy pres beneficiary

Learn About the Campaign

7 million Californians live in poverty. Many low-income individuals and families face legal problems that can disrupt or destroy families, lead to homelessness or the loss of critical medical treatment, and can put their lives at risk. Conservatorships, restraining orders, housing law, homeless veterans and kids with special needs – every problem they face has a legal component. However, there is just one civil legal aid attorney for every 7,500 Californians who are eligible for services. 

With the Campaign for Justice, we want to build up the legal safety net with your help. The Campaign for Justice works to make legal services available to every indigent person in California. We help by providing funding to nearly 100 non-profit legal assistance organizations that serve all 58 California Counties, boosting the grants they receive through the State Bar to provide free civil legal services to people in need.

The Campaign brings together legal professionals from the for-profit, non-profit, governmental, and judicial realms to collaborate on ways to expand the availability and accessibility of legal services in California. We educate policymakers and financial institutions on ways they can improve access to justice, and encourage legal professionals to contribute their time and money to helping those in legal crisis. 

The State Bar of California administers four main sources of funding for legal aid in California: Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA), Equal Access Funds through the court budget, voluntary contributions to the Justice Gap Fund and settlement funds designated for foreclosure legal assistance and community development legal assistance.  Unfortunately, legal aid had not fully recovered from the downturn in the economy in 2008, when interest rates dropped from $22 million in 2008 to less than $6 million, where rates have hovered since.   In addition, currently less than five percent of California lawyers contribute individually to the Justice Gap Fund, yielding just less than a million dollars annually.

The need for access to justice is likely to increase in the coming years as federal policy shifts may threaten public education, immigrant rights, healthcare access and potentially, legal services itself.  While the safety net shrinks, California’s most vulnerable residents face housing crises, job losses, domestic violence, elder abuse, and obstacles to health care and education.  When justice is available to those who need it, the greater society benefits from increased family stability, safer communities, and a stronger workforce.

The Campaign for Justice supports about 100 nonprofit organizations throughout California that provide legal help to hundreds of thousands of individuals every year. These organizations form broad and creative partnerships to effectively leverage resources and expand critical legal services. Some programs provide services directly and other programs coordinate legal services through attorney and law student pro bono, or through legal support and advocacy.

From the smallest legal aid program serving frail seniors in Yuba County, to the largest, providing statewide protection and advocacy for people with disabilities throughout California; from the legal aid program that fights to rehabilitate inner-city slums in Los Angeles, to the legal aid program that secures guardianships for grandparent caretakers in Bakersfield and surrounding rural areas – each of these legal assistance organizations has a mission to provide legal aid to people who otherwise could not afford access to justice.

Legal aid needs your help to support the many Californians who have lost their homes, their jobs, and their healthcare. If you already contribute your time or money to a local legal non-profit, please sustain that connection and ask your friends to join you. Educate your colleagues about the important work of legal aid. If you do not know what legal aid is already doing in your community, please browse this site and learn more.

While national research indicates that investments in legal aid show returns of 500% to even 1000% on the dollar, donations of monetary support are only one of the many components to this campaign. You could write an article about a pro bono case that changed your perspective, or mentor a volunteer. You could designate the Campaign or your local legal aid as a cy press beneficiary, if your practice involves undistributable residual funds. There are innumerable ways to help. There are even more opportunities. Please use our Donate button to support legal assistance in California today. The solution to the Justice Gap lies with you. 

Our Contributors

Including:
Gargir v. SeaWorld ($125,396.56)
Frank O’Shea et al. v. Falcon Cable Systems Company ($143,884.64)
King v. West Marine, Inc. ($3,927.58)
Alejandra Vazquez Flores v. Neal C. Tenen, A Law Corporation, et al. ($18,728.54)
Serochi v. Bosa Development California ($471,596.22)
Taylor v. West Marine Products, Inc. ($42,477.06)
Martinez v. AutoZone ($143,945.89)
Ryan L. Hicks, Law Offices of Michael S. Sorgen
Jessica Neu-Helms, et al. v. UHS of Delaware, Inc. et al. ($148,478.45)
Jerry Cooper, Inc. v. Lifequotes of America, Inc. ($1,210,748.11)

Our Partners

  • The State Bar of California
  • California ChangeLawyers
  • California Commission on Access to Justice
  • California State Assembly
  • California State Senate
  • Judicial Council of California
  • Legal Aid Association of California
  • Legal Services Trust Fund Commission
  • Office of Access and Inclusion, State Bar of California
  • Pro Bono Coordinating Committee
  • State Bar of California
  • 95 nonprofit legal aid organizations
  • Diego Cartagena, Chair, Pro Bono Director, Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • Catherine Blakemore, Executive Director, Disability Rights California
  • Salena Copeland, Executive Director, Legal Aid Association of California
  • Barbara Duncan, Communications Director, Disability Rights California
  • Amos E. Hartston, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
  • Ann Murphy, Director of Communications & Public Relations, The Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Stephanie Choy, Managing Director, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California
  • Jennifer Kregear, Project Coordinator, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California
  • Adrian Dollard, Chair, Founder, Qatalyst Partners
  • Hon. Aviva Bobb (retired), Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Salena Copeland, Executive Director, Legal Aid Association of California
  • Hon. Terry Freidman (retired), Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Brian S. Kabateck, Founding and Managing Partner, Kabateck, Brown and Kellner, LLP
  • Hon. James Lambden (retired), Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Two
  • Jocelyn Larkin, Executive Director, Impact Fund
  • Hon. Howard Matz (retired), United States District Court, Central District of California
  • Anne Marie Murphy, Principal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
  • David Pasternak, Partner, Pasternak, Pasternak & Patton
  • Christian Schreiber, Associate, Chavez and Gertler, LLP
  • Stephanie Choy, Managing Director, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California
  • Elena Enzweiler, IOLTA Compliance & Bank Relations, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California
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  • Kenneth W. Babcock, Co-chair, Executive Director & General Counsel, Public Law Center
  • Robin Crawford, Co-chair, Family Law Attorney, Law Office of Robin Crawford
  • Bonnie Hough, Managing Attorney, Center for Families, Children and the Courts, Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Deborah Moss-West, Assistant Director, Center for Social Justice & Public Service, Santa Clara University Law School
  • Gary F. Smith, Executive Director, Legal Services of Northern California
  • Hon. Jack Sutro, Jr. (retired)
  • Stephanie Choy, Managing Director, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California
  • Elena Enzweiler, IOLTA Compliance & Bank Relations, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California

“There is nothing more important to the stability and welfare of our country than our justice system. Critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system is the public’s confidence in and respect for it. We have the chance to see that the needy are provided with the legal services they need, a goal that I strongly believe is critical to the maintenance of the public’s confidence in and respect for our justice system.” 
– Honorable John A. Sutro, Jr., Retired, Former Legal Services Trust Fund Commission Member

If you are in need of legal assistance, please visit www.lawhelpca.org or call (866)-442-2529

This site is maintained by the Legal Aid Association of California.