Anti-Poverty Effect of Legal Aid

dc.contributor.authorLim, Amy
dc.description.abstractWhat comes to mind when one wants to eliminate poverty in the United States? Education? Healthcare? Job Training? There are many possible solutions, but one that is often overlooked is access to legal services. When one stands up and recites the pledge of allegiance, the final words we say are, “Liberty and Justice for all.” We strive to uphold the words we say, but reality says otherwise. Not everyone is granted equal protection under the law because the United States has one of the worst civil justice systems in the world, thus, poverty is still a rampant issue. This summer I interned at Bayview Hunter’s Point Community Legal (BHPCL) a legal aid in San Francisco. BHPCL, co-founded by Virginia Taylor ’08, is the country’s first system of universal access to civil representation. Every day, I worked with attorneys and volunteers to ensure that everyone living in the local community can get representation on every viable legal claim or defense. My work consisted of translating Cantonese for our monolingual clients, paralegal tasks - client support, document review, fact gathering, and demand letter writing. I also was involved with creating the Social Return on Investment (SROI) report. SROI is an analysis created to help understand the impact a nonprofit by measuring its inputs (money spent on services and overhead) against the short and long-term financial benefits it provides its clients, students, or patients, as well as the long-term impact of each type of intervention is estimated using the help of social science research.
dc.description.panabstractThe law is a vast, complex entity; it is difficult to navigate, and—unfortunately—often easy to abuse. This summer, each panelist worked with an organization that provides access to justice to marginalized groups. These internships allowed us to learn about and fight injustice within the legal system, and provided us with opportunities to work with the law in this capacity first-hand. We gained valuable experience supporting those denied access to the justice system in their fight to safeguard their legal rights, and observed how our colleagues and organizations fought back against legal abuses, navigated challenging legal and office dynamics, and continued tirelessly to work towards improving access to the law for everyone.
dc.titleAnti-Poverty Effect of Legal Aid
dc.title.alternativeLegal Services to Stop Injustice


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