By: Carmody and Associates. Published by: Montana Access to Justice Commission. Published in: July 2014
Based on 300 individual interviews or participation in a listening session, nearly half of all low-income Montanans have at least one civil legal problem each year that legal services programs do not address. It is estimated that there are 20 to 25 attorneys from non-profit providers statewide to help an estimated 167,000 Montanans with low and moderate incomes who have a legal problem. The state spends $20 per person who is eligible for civil legal aid.
It is recommended that to better meet legal needs and coordinate legal assistance to improve access to justice in Montana:
- Additional staff and pro bono attorneys, staff and volunteer mediators, other staff and pro se clinics be added.
- Availability and types of free legal assistance, legal areas in which legal assistance is available, in-person services, and collaboration between the legal providers and other service providers be increased.
- Access to information through telephone and web services be improved and simplified.
- Specific gaps and barriers of some populations, including victims of domestic violence, persons with mental disorders, Native Americans, persons who do not speak English well or who cannot hear, elders, veterans, and homeless individuals, be given particular attention.
- Brochures, business cards, and posters be distributed; Newspapers, theaters, radio, libraries and targeted conferences be used as places to advertise in order to raise awareness of available services.