BayLegal is committed to providing meaningful access to the civil justice system through quality legal assistance regardless of a client’s location, language or disability.
Access to legal advocacy is critical to ensuring that Bay Area residents living in poverty understand and assert their rights, in order to create stability for themselves and their families. Each year BayLegal’s services benefit 70,000 Bay Area residents.
In 2000, three Bay Area legal services programs, each with its own identity, history, and resources, came together to form Bay Area Legal Aid.
The vision that brought these programs together is simple. We believe the scope and quality of the legal assistance you receive should depend solely on the merits of your case, not on where you live. Thus, we set out to build a program with a regional vision grounded in local communities. We learned what many of us already believed – despite differences among various counties, the legal problems of poor people are substantially similar.
We also believe that the civil justice community in the Bay Area has the resources to build an integrated, comprehensive delivery system capable of addressing our clients’ most pressing needs. We have more legal services programs and spend more dollars per poor person than any other region in California. We operate in a tremendously supportive environment, including some of the best law schools, the largest and most effective pro bono programs, and the most progressive private bar and law firms in the country.
We are mindful, of course, that as rich as we may be, our resources fall far short of what we need to provide legal assistance to all the people who need it. Yet, we must recognize the responsibility to rationally allocate the resources we do have throughout the region. Bay Area Legal Aid serves clients through regional offices in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
We hope that some day, working with our sister legal services programs and other members of the civil justice community, regional boundaries will no longer determine the availability of legal services, nor influence our vision of what we can accomplish together.