Poor People Don’t Stand A Chance In Court

In theory, low-income Americans who need help with a civil case can turn to civil legal aid organizations. But there are so few of them that getting their help is a bit like winning the lottery.
News Story (NATIONAL)

Bryce Covert
May 11, 2016

Tags: Justice for All

Organizations mentioned/involved: Voices for Civil Justice, National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) at Fordham Law School


There is less than one civil legal attorney — 0.64, to be exact — for every 10,000 people living in poverty, according to the newly released Justice Index from the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ). Even though nearly 110 million people are poor enough to qualify for free legal assistance because they can’t afford a private attorney, there are less than 7,000 legal aid attorneys throughout the country to help them.

Things are even worse in some states. In South Carolina, which ranks at the very bottom, there are 0.24 legal aid attorneys serving 10,000 poor people. There are only six states where there is more than one attorney. And research has shown that low-income people are more likely to find themselves dealing with the civil court system.