Legal Aid Attorney in Orange County, California
Civil legal aid is the support of counsel and legal advocacy for individuals living at or near poverty in legal issues that fall outside of the criminal justice system. For people encountering civil legal difficulties, such as unlawful evictions, foreclosure, domestic abuse, or wrongful denial of government assistance, navigating the justice system without an attorney can be impossible. However, unlike the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in criminal proceedings, courts have not recognized a right to an attorney in the vast majority of civil cases. This puts justice out of reach for low-income people, and weakens a fundamental principle of our nation, that: the amount of money an individual has should not decide the quality of justice they receive.
Legal aid programs help ensure fairness in the justice system. Almost 47 million individuals, and more than one in five children, live in or near poverty in the United States. Legal aid providers defend the legal rights of millions of Americans with low-income each year in areas including housing, consumer, family, education and employment, and protect access to services for individuals of all backgrounds, including kids, veterans, victims of domestic violence, the elderly, and those living with disabilities.
How Does Legal Aid Help?
Legal assistance is often the only lifeline provided to people facing life-altering consequences, such as losing their home, employment, or custody of their kids. For instance, research has shown that the provision of legal services "significantly reduces the incidence of domestic violence." The type of assistance depends on the type of legal trouble the client faces. Legal aid attorneys advocate for individuals in a range of issues outside of court, litigate on their behalf in court, and often lead complicated legal actions seeking systemic changes that affect large numbers of people facing similar situations.