Attorneys hope to ease burden on poor of legal needs

More than three-quarters of poor Washingtonians with civil legal problems face them without attorneys, according to a recent survey due to be presented to state lawmakers at a Thursday committee hearing.

News Story (Washington)

Jordan Schrader
Olympian (WA)
November 18, 2015

Tags: Justice for All, Legal Needs

Organizations mentioned/involved: Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) (Washington State), Northwest Justice Project (NJP) (WA)


Civil legal-aid lawyers are helping Nisbet, but say their numbers are not nearly enough to represent everyone trying to deal with legal problems.


Medical bills, debt collection, credit access and other woes pile up for the poor, according to the survey commissioned by the state Supreme Court and conducted by Washington State University.

An advocacy group for civil legal aid, the Equal Justice Coalition, says the state would need to add 124 more state-funded civil legal aid lawyers to the 107 on the job now to meet what the group said are nationally recognized standards for access to legal aid.

That would cost more than $15 million a year at a time when the Supreme Court demands more money for schools, so lawmakers may look for other solutions.