Justice Gap Fund
The Justice Gap Fund implements AB 2301 (2006), which authorizes the State Bar to solicit contributions from its members to support free civil legal services for low-income Californians. Legal services for the indigent are a critical component of the justice system, helping to improve trust and confidence in the court system and facilitating fair conflict resolution for unrepresented litigants.
The need for legal services has never been greater. Funding for legal services has decreased 70 percent as a result of historic low interest rates. At the same time, an additional 1.5 million victims of the economy became eligible for free legal services when the number of Californians living below the poverty line climbed to over 6 million. More than half of those seeking help who are financially eligible for free civil legal services continue to be turned away because of the lack of resources.
In response to the decreasing funds available for legal services, volunteers from legal aid organizations, the Legal Aid Association of California, the Office of Legal Services and the broader legal community formed a committee to launch the Campaign for Justice to raise awareness and resources for nonprofit legal aid organizations. For more information about the Campaign for Justice or to donate to the Justice Gap Fund online, visit www.CAforJustice.org.
The Justice Gap Fund is one of three critical sources of funding for the State Bar’s Legal Services Trust Fund Program, which distributes grants to approximately 100 nonprofit organizations that provide free civil legal services to low-income Californians. Other funding sources for the Legal Services Trust Fund Program are the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and the state Equal Access Fund (EAF).
Contributions to the Justice Gap Fund will go toward programs that:
- provide legal assistance to vulnerable clients, such as victims of domestic violence and elder abuse;
- help to keep families intact by avoiding homelessness and establishing guardianships;
- ensure that low-income children receive needed health care and special education services, and;
- protect the rights of consumers and workers to avoid fraud and exploitation.
All California lawyers can choose to contribute voluntarily to the Justice Gap Fund through their annual member fee statement (mailed Dec. 1) or by using the Contribute link above. You may also send a check payable to The State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105. Contributions are tax-exempt to the fullest extent of the law.
Other resources and information
Articles about the Justice Gap Fund
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