A 108% return on investment: The Economic Impact to the State of North Carolina of Civil Legal Services in 2012

By: Mary L. Irvine Published by: North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission (NCEAJC) published in February 2014

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Three civil legal aid providers in North Carolina, working in partnership with the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, compiled data about the economic benefits associated with their representation in 2012. The University of North Carolina Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity analyzed the data and prepared the report


The report estimates that the legal representation provided by Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and Pisgah Legal Services during 2012 resulted in more than $9.2 million in new federal revenue directed into the state of North Carolina with an additional $8.8 million from other sources.

  • The overall direct economic impact in these two areas totals $18,024,411. The indirect economic impact is the economic boost to the state and local economies through increases in employment, wages, and business outputs.
  • The indirect economic impact totals $13,893,362.
  • Additionally, through client advocacy, the legal aid providers generated $16,857,503 in cost savings, including domestic violence prevention, eviction prevention, and foreclosure prevention.
  • The total economic impact, including direct, indirect, and cost savings, of the provision of legal services by providers across the state is $48,775,276.
  • That is, for every dollar spent to provide legal services from all funding sources in 2012, $2.08 is put into the economy. More specifically, for every dollar spent by the state to provide legal services, nearly $10 flows into the economy. The return on the state’s investment in legal services made to the three providers is 108%

Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, State-Specific

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