What Is The Alliance?

The Alliance is composed of more than 40 members and supporters. Alliance members are organizations whose predominant mission is to provide civil legal aid to those in need. Because justice for every person is critical to the rule of law and the integrity of our communities, the Alliance has a broad base of supporters within the greater community.

Collaboratively, Alliance Members & Supporters:

  • Serve more  vulnerable, low-income people by creating efficiency and avoiding duplicate services;
  • Raise critical funds that benefit legal aid programs statewide;
  • Share tools and information about successful programs and ideas to improve client services, communications, technology, and more;
  • Educate the community about low-income people who face urgent civil legal problems and the importance of legal aid to their lives;
  • Receive training, technical assistance and support within the legal aid community;
  • Develop relationships and community partnerships to enhance client service capacity, increase awareness about civil legal aid, and fundraise.

Alliance Members:

  • Center For Justice
  • Columbia Legal Services
  • Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Legal Aid
  • Eastside Legal Assistance Program
  • Gonzaga University School of Law Legal Clinics
  • King County Bar Association
  • Kitsap Legal Services
  • Legal Action Center
  • Legal Assistance by Whatcom (LAW) Advocates
  • Lewis County Bar Legal Aid
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Northwest Justice Project
  • Seattle Community Law Center
  • Seattle University School of Law Legal Clinics
  • Sexual Violence Legal Services at YWCA Seattle King Snohomish
  • Skagit County Volunteer Legal Services Program
  • Snohomish County Legal Services
  • Spokane County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Program
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Program
  • TeamChild
  • Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services
  • Unemployment Law Project
  • University of Washington School of Law Clinics
  • Wayfind
  • Yakima County Volunteer Attorney Services

Alliance Supporters:

The Alliance receives broad support from the legal community, businesses, government leaders, health and social service providers, as well as community and faith based organizations.

Alliance supporters complement direct service work in critical ways.

  • Providing financial support and accountability
  • Educating policy makers and the public about the importance of civil legal aid
  • Fundraising
  • Strategic planning and advice
  • Technical support
  • Communications support
Access to Justice Board

In response to a growing need to provide continuity and focus for the access to justice efforts in Washington, the Access to Justice Board was established by the Washington State Supreme Court in 1994 at the request of the Washington State Bar Association. The ATJ Board works to achieve equal access to the civil justice system for those facing economic and other significant barriers by coordinating the efforts of the Alliance for Equal Justice, and through the work of its twelve standing committees.

Campaign for Equal Justice (C4EJ)

The Campaign for Equal Justice is the civil legal aid community’s united effort to raise charitable contributions from the private bar and beyond for Washington’s more than 30 legal aid programs. The Campaign eliminates competition for funding between legal aid programs and simplifies giving by ending donor confusion over which deserving program to support.

Equal Justice Coalition (EJC)

A standing committee of the Access to Justice Board since 1995, the Equal Justice Coalition supports the Alliance through educating policymakers and the public about the importance of civil legal aid to our communities and advocating on behalf of people with low incomes for sufficient public funding for legal aid in Washington.

Legal Foundation of Washington (LFW)

Created by the Washington Supreme Court in 1984, the Legal Foundation of Washington supports the Alliance by funding programs and supporting policies and initiatives which enable the poor and the most vulnerable to overcome barriers in the civil justice system. LFW administers IOLTA funds and charitable support from the Campaign for Equal Justice to over 30 programs through its annual grant process.

Washington State Bar Association (WSBA)

The Washington State Bar Association is an important supporter of legal aid. WSBA is home of the Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee. It also staffs and administers the Access to Justice Board in its headquarters in Seattle. WSBA has a proud history of supporting equal justice for everyone in Washington State.

Washington State Minority Bar Associations
  • Asian Bar Association of Washington
  • Filipino Lawyers of Washington
  • GLBT Bar Association (QLaw)
  • Korean American Bar Association
  • Latina/o Bar Association of Washington
  • Loren Miller Bar Association
  • Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington
  • Northwest Indian Bar Association
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association
  • Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association
  • Washington Women Lawyers
Legal Services Corporation (LSC)

The Legal Services Corporation provides funding to each state based on the number of people living in poverty, as well as grants for legal assistance to Native American and migrant farm worker communities. Congress created LSC in 1974 to provide financial support to non-profit organizations that provide civil legal aid to low-income people throughout the nation. The Northwest Justice Project is the sole recipient of LSC funds in Washington.

Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA)

Created by the Legislature in 2005, the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA) is an independent judicial branch agency that administers and oversees the use of state funds appropriated by the legislature for civil legal aid. OCLA contracts with the Northwest Justice Project (NJP) to help underwrite NJP’s regional client service offices, the statewide CLEAR client intake system, the statewide legal services self-help website, advocacy coordination and training for legal aid advocates throughout the state. OCLA is overseen by a bipartisan Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee.

Washington Association of County Law Libraries

County law libraries in Washington State were established in 1919 to provide access to legal information to the courts and the bar, and also to the public in counties which have the staff available. It is their collective mission to provide the best possible service to their communities, by connecting people to the information they need to effectively participate in the justice system. County law libraries strive to serve as a community access point for legal information and support those civil legal aid organizations who are actively involved in representing those in need.

Washington’s Law Schools

Students and faculty at the law schools of the University of Washington (Dean Kellye Y. Testy), Seattle University (Dean Annette Clark), and Gonzaga University (Dean Jane Korn) are a valuable resource for Alliance members and their clients. Programs such as Seattle University’s Access to Justice Institute, University of Washington’s William H. Gates Public Service Law Program, and the Gonzaga Center for Law and Justice play a crucial role in ensuring continued commitment to access to justice in Washington by instilling a passion for public interest law in young lawyers.

Funding For Legal Aid

Justice is out of reach for the vast majority of low-income families and individuals due to scarce financial resources. Total funding for civil legal aid in Washington falls far short of the need for services, severely limiting the ability of legal aid programs to provide to those in need.

Current funding for civil legal aid programs in Washington comes from four primary sources.

Federal Grants:
  • Through congressional appropriations, the Legal Services Corporation makes grants to legal aid programs across the country, including Washington’s Northwest Justice Project.
State Funding:
  • Through the Office of Civil Legal Aid, the Washington State Legislature provides critical funding for civil legal aid. This funding goes primarily to the Northwest Justice Project. Some state funds are subcontracted to legal aid programs doing OCLA-eligible work across the state.
Regional Funding:
  • King County  has one of the largest populations of poverty. To meet the basic needs of its residents, King County (Executive and the Council) provides financial support to six legal aid programs working collaboratively to ensure effective client services are met. Programs include Eastside Legal Assistance Program, Solid Ground, Seattle Community Law Center, TeamChild, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Unemployment Law Project.
Interest On Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA):
  • IOLTA funds are generated by the interest from monies held in trust by attorneys and limited practice officers for their clients. Funds from the IOLTA program are administered by the Legal Foundation of Washington, which was created by the Washington Supreme Court for this sole purpose. IOLTA funds are granted to 17 volunteer lawyer programs and seven specialty legal aid programs.
Charitable Contributions:
  • Individuals, law firms, foundations, corporations and organizations are all important partners in providing financial support for civil legal aid. The collaborative, statewide annual Campaign for Equal Justice unites the fundraising efforts of groups across the state. Funds raised by the Campaign are distributed through the Legal Foundation of Washington’s standard grant-making process. Find out how you or your organization can support civil legal aid in Washington with a financial contribution.

How Can I Get Involved?

Visit our “Get Involved” tab and discover ways you can help Alliance programs meet the needs of vulnerable, low-income individuals and families throughout the state.

To keep informed on current issues regarding civil legal aid, sign up to receive our Alliance for Equal Justice Newsletter. When you sign up, you will also receive important legislative updates and action alerts.

For The Media:

If you are a member of the media and would like to learn more about the Alliance for Equal Justice and its initiatives, please contact Jay Doran, Education Director of the Equal Justice Coalition at (206)-447-8168 or by email by using our contact page.