Civil Legal Aid: Messaging and Talking Points

9 second soundbite

We hired top national pollsters who developed this nine-­second soundbite on what civil legal aid does.

LRP 9 second soundbite slide
Civil legal aid message developed by bipartisan pollsters, 2013.

 

Text version: “Civil legal aid helps ensure fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money you have.”

2 minute soundbite

Our pollsters also offered an expanded, two-minute statement that includes additional information on services provided.

LRP 2 minute soundbite slide,
Civil legal aid message developed by bipartisan pollsters, 2013.

 

Text version:

Civil Legal Aid assures fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money you have. It provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. Civil Legal Aid makes it easier to access information — whether through easy-to-understand forms, including online forms; legal assistance or representation; and legal self-help centers — so people can know their rights.

Civil Legal Aid also helps streamline the court system and cuts down on court costs. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance we close with “justice for all.” We need programs like Civil Legal Aid to ensure that the very principle our founding fathers envisioned remains alive: justice for all, not the few who can afford it.


Note the above highlights three main points:

  • Our program is civil legal aid.
  • We assure fairness for all in the justice system, not the few who can afford it.
  • Our services increase ease of access to information and assistance to know your rights.

Give examples of services provided

The key in describing Civil Legal Aid is to provide illustrations of the types of services while spending less time defining the program or the populations served. Civil Legal Aid provides:

  • Easy-to-understand forms, including online forms, that people can use in civil legal proceedings.
  • Legal assistance, including legal self-help centers, so people can know their rights.
  • Legal representation to those who cannot afford it — because justice should not depend on how much money you have.

Additional Messaging and Talking Points

Civil legal aid helps ensure fairness for all in America’s justice system, regardless of how much money you have.

  • Our civil justice system is facing a crisis. Millions of Americans cannot afford the legal help they need when facing life -­‐ changing situations, such as domestic violence, unlawful evictions, or the loss of veterans’, health or disability benefits. They’re left to navigate these complex legal situations on their own — and risk losing their families, homes and livelihoods in the process.
  • Civil legal aid is critical to fulfilling our nation’s promise of justice for all. It serves Americans of all backgrounds and ages, including those who face the toughest civil legal challenges: children, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of domestic violence.
  • Civil legal aid provides Americans with the legal tools they need to protect their families, homes and health.

Civil legal aid leads the legal profession when it comes to innovations and new technology, making it easier for all Americans to access information and know their rights.

  • Creative programs, from easy-to-understand forms to legal self­‐help centers, are benefiting the civil justice system by making legal proceedings more accessible and efficient for all.

Civil legal aid provides important return on investment for taxpayers, businesses and communities.

  • A lack of access to justice for some is a burden to all. Strengthening civil legal aid saves taxpayers and businesses money, restores communities and boosts local economies.
  • Civil legal aid helps streamline the court system by fostering efficiency, reducing the number of unnecessary lawsuits and cutting down on court costs and staff overtime.
  • Investing in civil legal aid saves money in the long run. For local and state reporters only: Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of New York said recently that for every dollar spent on civil legal services, $5 is returned to New York State. Other state economic benefit studies support this finding.

Civil legal aid helps level the playing field.

  • Civil legal aid is one of the best strategies we have to tackle inequality and poverty.

Read more:
Civil legal aid FAQ for Advocates.
Communicating about Civil Legal Aid to Laywers.