The Justice Gap
There is a growing gap between those who can afford paid legal representation and the very few who can get free legal representation. This is the Justice Gap – the many people caught in the middle with little choice but to solve legal problems and use the courts on their own. These people are our family, our friends, our neighbors and our co-workers. They are low income and of modest means, most are employed. The reality is that ordinary people face an increasingly legally complex world alone. The issues they face affect their families, their income, their housing and their wellbeing.
Confronting the Justice Gap: Serving the Community
The Leal Assistance Center now consistently serves over 18,000 people each year. That is an average of 90 people each day that the LAC is open. With help, people are able to seek child support, parenting time and custody. They can respond to an eviction to take steps to get a security deposit returned. They can respond to a collection matter or seek relief from a garnishment. As a result, children can get the support they need and spend more time with parents and families can stay in their homes and better manage their financial resources.
Confronting the Justice Gap: Funding Access to Justice
Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities of West Michigan are special. People here care about one another and they show it. The Legal Assistance Center was the first legal self help center in Michigan and among the first in the country. It was created when lawyers in this community saw the need to provide legal help and engaged with the community to meet that need. Only the continuing financial support of many with gifts large and small make sure people can get help and access justice.
Preparing for the Future: Improving Access to Justice
We need to do more. Right now the Legal Assistance Center is only open Tuesday to Friday each week. We need to be open on Mondays to help more people. Being open one more day will take additional, consistent funding for to support staff and volunteers for that additional day. Your gift can help make that happen. Will join with us to make “Open Monday” a reality?
Will you help support access to justice?
Learn more about how your donation supports access to justice on our Donate page or donate by clicking the button below.
Lawyers and law firms can give through the Access to Justice Fund designated to the Legal Assistance Center.