"Equal access means that courts are available to all – from low- and middle-income litigants representing themselves to businesses urgently needing to resolve disputes ... Equal access means supporting a diverse judicial branch at all levels to benefit the public and to reflect the vast diversity of the state. ... In the end, equal access relies on public support."
– Hon. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye Chief Justice of California
In 1999, the state created the Equal Access Fund, a source of funds aimed at helping Californians who need legal services, but can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Since then the money has been used to help the most needy in the state.
Although the State Bar does not provide legal services to clients, it manages the distribution of grants to legal aid groups that provide direct help to the public.
Each year, about 100 nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to the people who need it most in California – including the poor and homeless, people with disabilities and victims of elder abuse and domestic violence – get money to help their clients.
The Equal Access Fund’s annual budget has remained at roughly $10 million since its inception in 1999. But in 2016, at the urging of the State Bar, the governor approved an additional $5 million in funding.
If you would like to donate to the fund, contact the State Bar at:
State Bar of California Legal Services Trust Fund Program 180 Howard St. San Francisco, CA 94105 415-538-2252 firstname.lastname@example.org