Making a Difference: California Legal Aid, 2017 Impact Report

The California State Bar has released the Legal Aid Impact Report, reporting on cases closed in 2017

The California State Bar is excited to share the Legal Aid Impact Report. The report is based on the first full year of statewide outcome data collected for cases closed in 2017.

“Increasing access to the legal system is core to our mission, and we are proud to support the dedicated, life-changing work of the legal aid community, not only with grant dollars but with collaborative efforts such as this groundbreaking report,” said Leah T. Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California. “Legal aid serves millions of Californians, improves communities, and provides economic benefits to the state that we are only beginning to measure.”

The State Bar awarded over $37 million in legal aid grants in 2017. This report focuses broadly on outcomes achieved in 2017 by these grantees in serving low-income Californians, regardless of the source of funding, including their State Bar grant as well as other private and public funds.

Michael Rawson, Director of The Public Interest Law Project stated “It is amazing that legal services programs in California can achieve these results with so little resources. But, with entrenched segregation and the torrent of gentrification and displacement, programs remain vastly under-resourced to meet the burgeoning need.”

The report spotlights outcomes and client stories about legal aid in the areas of health, domestic violence, housing and homelessness, justice in the workplace, immigration and immigrant rights, consumer protection, seniors, children, people with disabilities, veterans, and disaster response.

“There are so many benefits of legal representation that cannot be quantified, but this report shows that legal aid has a tremendous impact on the lives of the most vulnerable residents in California. With approximately 8,000 low-income persons for every one legal aid lawyer, we need to keep fighting to increase access to these critical resources,” said Lauren Hansen, Staff Attorney at PILP overseeing public benefits cases.

By providing free legal assistance to low-income Californians, legal aid providers meet basic needs like food, shelter, and safety, help individuals in crisis, address systemic inequities and revitalize communities. Legal aid intervention can help keep a family intact and in their home, help an individual remain employed or in school, and improve health outcome.



Established as a statewide support center, The Public Interest Law Project (PILP), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that provides litigation support, policy advocacy, consultation and training for legal services and other public interest law programs throughout California. PILP is recognized throughout California and nationally for the expertise it brings to public benefits, affordable housing, civil rights, and redevelopment law.

Read the full California Legal Aid 2017 Impact Report.

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