May 1, 2004
This is an assessment of the legal needs and the current capacity of the civil equal justice system to deliver such services in Washington. It concludes that an additional $18.25 million per year is needed to meet the need for civil legal assistance in state authorized areas of focus. Legal assistance is unavailable for more than 390,000 individual legal problems experienced by low-income people in Washington State each year.
A total of $19 million from all sources of funding is spent per year to support a statewide comprehensive telephone service, two statewide staffed legal aid programs, 24 locally based volunteer attorney programs, and a number of specialized providers that provide civil legal services to discrete populations of low income people or services of specialized substantive nature or geographic focus. In the second half of 2004, with a $19,000 annual invesment, the 2 statewide legal services providers staffed 87 client advocates and 18 other advocates throughout the state. It was concluded that an additional $18.25 million per year is needed to meet the need for civil legal assistance in state authorized areas of focus. Legal assistance is unavailable for more than 390,000 individual legal problems experienced by low-income people in Washington State each year. Legal assistance for 85 percent of the 140,000 low-income households experience a legal problem each year and 80 percent of these households experience more than 1 legal problem. About 75 percent of housholds that experience a legal need can achieve an effective resolution with low levels of assistance.
It is recommended that:
• Services through Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral (CLEAR) be expanded to provide information, advice, and brief services. An additional $3.52 per year should be funded to support 32 full-time advocates.
• Services be extended to meet the extended legal assistance. For an increased level of pro bono service, an additional $2 million per year is required.
• The rest of the gap should be fulfilled by adding 188 full-time attorneys with an additional $22.56 million.
• The State increase its funding by an additional $18.25 million, or approximately $36.5 million per biennium. As of July 2004, the state gave $6.4 million per year.
• The Washington civil legal aid delivery plan includes providing a fuller continuum of client service capacities and more responsive to the extensive range of legal needs of low-income people.
• Increase pro bono services by the private bar by 50 percent.
PUBLICATION DETAILSFormat: Research
Publication Type: Report
Geographic coverage, US: Washington
Topics: Legal Needs | Strategic Planning | Strategic Philanthropy | Resource Development
Who Served: General/unspecified clients
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