When Talking About Civil Legal Aid, Don’t Forget Its ROI

Investing in civil legal aid is not only instrumental in providing equal access to justice, it's also makes economic sense.

Blog Post (Massachusetts, NATIONAL)

Lonnie A. Powers
Huffington Post
January 28, 2014
Huffington Post Blog

Tags: Funding: Federal, Housing: Homelessness

Organizations mentioned/involved: Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC)


There is one thing, however, of which I’m certain: for the good of our society and our economy, we must continue to ensure that low-income individuals and families can access legal information, advice and representation. In many cases, it’s what saves them from spiraling further downward into poverty’s grip, at great expense to them and to our Commonwealth.

Unlike criminal defendants, low-income people with civil legal problems — child custody, domestic violence, employment, elder issues, housing, health care, or the inability to access government benefits — aren’t eligible for court-appointed attorneys. They rely on the availability of limited legal aid programs, often the only way in which basic human needs for health, safety and housing can be met.


Funding for civil legal assistance for low-income people strengthens our society by meeting America’s promise of equal justice under the law. It also is an excellent fiscal investment for the Commonwealth, especially in these trying economic times.