Executive Director’s Blog – Looking Forward – Part IV

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Looking Forward

A Fair Bargain: A Partnership with the Private Bar to Protect Low-Income California Consumers

Bay Area Legal Aid is excited to announce that in recognition of our Consumer Team’s tremendous work and the power of pro bono partnerships, we have been awarded a grant from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF) to increase the capacity and impact of our consumer law practice.  These funds will support the Fair Bargain Project, expanding partnerships with pro bono attorneys to protect low-income consumers, strengthening a critical resource for families to break cycles of poverty by asserting and defending their rights against predatory lending practices and long-term debt.

BayLegal is uniquely positioned to reach low-income consumers in our Consumer Rights Clinics throughout the Bay Area, enabling us to help individuals assert their rights and to identify patterns of illegal behavior. This project supports additional innovation and increased capacity to make our clinics more effective— including additional technology to help participants complete complicated legal paperwork, identify patterns and engage more volunteers.  PBIF will also help expand our partnerships with the private bar to leverage their litigation expertise and passion to work with us to address systemic barriers and abuses through affirmative litigation.

This award would not have been possible without the existence of a robust, long-standing pro bono program at BayLegal. Thanks to the more than 60 firms who have supported this program in the last year, including the firms and attorneys who submitted letters of support for our application: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Kemnitzer, Barron & Krieg, LLP; and Craig Davis. And a special thanks to our Pro Bono Director, Andrea Del-Pan and our Regional Consumer Coordinator, Claire Raba-Johnson! We join Senator Kamala Harris in celebrating this resource which will bring “more justice and access to justice to Californians.”

Where to get consumer help:

Opportunities to get involved: Pro Bono and Volunteer Application