The injustice of underfunding civil legal aid

As a judge, I am confronted with the tragedy that results when low-income people are denied equal access to justice.

Op-Ed (Washington)

Johanna Bender
Seattle Times
September 10, 2016

Tags: Justice for All, LGBTQ

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Foundation of Washington, Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) (MA)


When civil legal problems compound and fester, escape from poverty can be hopeless.

There is a solution: Civil legal aid provides access to free legal help for many people in poverty, helping to protect their livelihoods, health and families.

Legal-aid attorneys can help LGBTQ people access legal remedies and take steps toward economic self-sufficiency. In fact, the Washington study found that when LGBTQ people get legal assistance, they are able to solve some portion of their legal problems approximately two-thirds of the time. Unfortunately, of the 73 percent of low-income LGBTQ Washingtonians who experience at least one civil legal problem each year, less than one-third are able to secure any legal assistance. Investing in legal aid can be the difference between housing and homelessness, employment and joblessness, self-sufficiency and poverty.