Defusing Debt: A Survey of Debt-Related Civil Legal Aid Programs in the United States

In order to better understand the work that civil legal aid programs are doing to serve some of the nation’s consumers, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) developed this survey to gather data about what kind of representation organizations provided to clients who are being contacted or sued by debt collectors, debt buyers, or creditors. Sixty-four civil legal aid organizations completed the comprehensive survey.

Five Evils: Multidimensional Race and Poverty in America

The Brookings Institution presents a report outlining a multifaceted view of poverty in the United States. Researchers expand traditional definitions by highlighting the impacts of household income, education, poverty related to area of residence, health insurance, and employment, with focus on racial inequity. Trends in census data as well as implications for policy change are discussed.

Law as Healer: How Paying for Medical-Legal Partnerships Saves Lives and Money

This report explores a large body of empirical evidence showing that increased access to legal services via medical legal partnerships can substantially improve health outcomes. Built on the merger of legal aid and health care providers, the medical-legal partnership (MLP) approach provides a more holistic model for addressing social and health related issues among low income populations. The author offers several policy recommendations to develop sustainable funding for MLP programs that pursue legal resolutions to health-harming social risks.

Civil Legal Services and Medical Legal Partnerships Needed by the Homeless Population: A National Survey

Surveying a sample of 48 homeless service sites across 26 states, this study seeks to better understand Medical-Legal Partnership on a national scale. Results indicate that a vast majority of patients experience at least one civil legal issue, most often related to housing, employment, health insurance, and disability benefits. In addition, most sites lacked training to screen for civil legal issues and reported an interest in developing partnerships to better serve vulnerable populations.

Rubber Stamp Justice: US Courts, Debt Buying Corporations, and the Poor

Incorporating over 100 interviews as well as relevant literature and empirical data, this Human Rights Watch article develops a comprehensive assessment of practices that fail to serve equal access to justice in debt buying cases. Additionally, it describes potential solutions to alleviate inequality in the courts through reform legislation and increased funding for legal aid programs focused on serving low-income clients.

Do Lawyers Matter?: The Effect of Legal Representation in Civil Disputes

As pro se litigation and Internet-based services become more popular avenues for pursuing legal resolution, the value of professional counsel is increasingly called into question. Through a review of relevant literature focused on several areas of law, this article explores whether legal representation produces desirable outcomes in civil disputes. While some results are mixed, evidence appears to strongly support legal representation in a variety of cases and contexts.

Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs: First Annual Report of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable

In November 2016, the Department of Justice issued the first annual report of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR), “Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs,” to President Obama. The report documents ways in which WH-LAIR’s 22 participating agencies have been working together with legal aid service providers to develop programs and collaborations that integrate legal aid and advance common goals.