Federal Office of Economic Opportunity creates first federal funding for civil legal services.
First Office of Economic Opportunity legal service programs open in Washington.
Legal Action Center (LAC) established.
President Nixon signs law creating Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
LSC funds three programs in WA: Spokane Legal Services Center, Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation, and Evergreen Legal Services.
Northwest Women’s Law Center established; name later changed to Legal Voice.
President Reagan targets LSC funding elimination.
LSC funds “minimum access levels” (2 FTEs for 10,000 people) and recognizes special-needs populations.
Federal cuts to LSC (8 of 15 legal aid offices shut down); new regulations require 12.5 percent of remaining money to go to Private Attorney Involvement (PAI).
WA Supreme Court passes IOLTA Rule; Legal Foundation of WA established to administer IOLTA.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project established.
WSBA Legal Aid Committee issues report on unmet civil legal needs and sponsors first statewide pro bono conference.
Unemployment Law Project established.
Attempted sanction and defunding of LSC.
WSBA Legal Aid Committee garners support for increased resources via a filing fee bill proposing a $22 increase—first step towards state funds for civil legal aid. (Filing fee bill passes in 1992.)
Legal Aid for WA (LAW Fund) is established.
WSBA Long-Range Planning Committee (chaired by Bill Gates, Sr.) identifies access to justice as high priority for WSBA.
WSBA Access to Justice Task Force recommends the creation of an Access to Justice (ATJ) Board.
ATJ Board established by WA Supreme Court in 1994.
Threats to eliminate all federal funding for LSC prompt LSC president to call for state planning process to prepare for cuts.
ATJ Board creates Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) to communicate need for civil legal aid funding to policymakers. First EJC chair, John McKay, appointed.
Spokane Legal Services Center, Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation, and Evergreen Legal Services merge to form Columbia Legal Services. Six of existing 13 legal services offices are closed; half of staff is laid off. Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is created and bids for LSC funds.
ATJ Board adopts “Hallmarks of an Effective Civil Legal Services Delivery System” and first State Plan.
Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America” place restrictions on LSC funding and cut funding from $400M to $278M, placing LSC on a three-year glide path to zero.
TeamChild pilot launched.
EJC in full swing to save federal and state funding. WA Governor adds $2M to state budget to mitigate federal costs but Legislature cuts down to $1M. CLS restructures remaining legal aid offices into five regions with goal of preserving three capacities (presence, responsiveness to vulnerable populations; statewide support). NJP
First ATJ Conference held in Chelan; over 200 people attend.
WA Supreme Court enters order renewing ATJ Board for another five years.
John McKay chosen as new president of LSC.
Seattle Community Law Center established to provide legal services in Social Security matters to low-income people with disabilities.
First Housing Justice Project begins in King County (joint partnership between CLS, King County Bar Association, NJP, and Tenant’s Union).
U.S. Supreme Court hears argument in Phillips v. WA Legal Foundation, a case challenging the constitutionality of IOLTA. Court determines IOLTA to be property and remands to determine if taking occurred.
WSBA Board reviews Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee’s study and declares civil equal justice funding crisis and supports state funding.
Effort to cut LSC funds by 50 percent is defeated; key votes from bipartisan base from WA delegation.
Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission starts legal services program.
ATJ Board adopts Revised State Plan, which recognized lack of infrastructure.
Civil legal aid community begins to coordinate diversity, inclusion, and multi-culturalism efforts.
GAAP (Greater Access and Assistance Program) Pilot Project facilitates referrals for middle-income people to lawyers charging sliding scale fees.
9th Circuit dismisses challenge to constitutionality of IOLTA related to Limited Practice Officers (LPOs) in WA Legal Foundation v. Legal Foundation of WA.
WA Supreme Court establishes task force on Civil Equal Justice Funding to develop long-term state funding strategies and to oversee statewide civil legal needs study.
ATJ Board Chair invited to attend first-ever national meeting of chairs of state justice entities.
WA Association of Community Legal Services Programs (WACLSP) writes a plan for increased pro bono infrastructure and support and full partnership role with equal justice community.
U.S. Supreme Court hears challenge to IOLTA program in WLF v. LFW. In 2003, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decides in favor of IOLTA in Brown v. LFW (formerly WLF v. LFW).
WA Supreme Court adopts RPC 6.1 amendments which suggest 30 hours of pro bono service and voluntary reporting.
WA Supreme Court publishes Civil Legal Needs study documenting crisis in access to necessary civil legal aid.
WA Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations (WAACO) launched; name later changed to Wayfind.
CLS hires a statewide pro bono support coordinator for Pro Bono Support Coordinating Board.
ATJ Board’s Communications Committee completes Communications Plan, which includes creating a name for the civil legal aid community—“Alliance for Equal Justice.”
ATJ Board’s Resource Development Committee recommends statewide unified “Campaign for Equal Justice” to coordinate private firm giving in King County and expand technical support for local programs.
Joint ATJ Conference and Bar Leaders Conference have a plenary session on inclusion, diversity, and multi-culturalism as a justice imperative.
Access to Justice Technology Principles are adopted by WA Supreme Court.
State funding shifts from CLS to NJP, which takes on new role as state funds fiscal agent and uses funding to expand in areas where CLS offices are closing or downsizing.
Gov. Gregoire signs HB 1747 establishing the new Office of Civil Legal Aid as an independent judicial branch agency.
ATJ Board adopts revised state plan that focuses on rural service delivery, upgrading pro bono, unifying intake in King County, expanding access for people facing barriers, and establishing statewide support infrastructure.
ATJ Board Nomination and Leadership Committee launches and begins looking at leadership development for the equal justice community.
WA Supreme Court adopts General Rule 33, Requests for Accommodation by Persons with Disabilities.
Recession hits—demand on legal aid at an all-time high, unemployment at 9.2 percent, and IOLTA revenue drops sharply from $7M to $2M. LFW and LAW Fund receive bridge-funding from Gates Foundation of $3M over three years.
Foreclosure crisis hits WA; CLS leads efforts for passage of Foreclosure Fairness Act. LFW leads Alliance efforts from national home foreclosure settlement where AGO provides $13M to fund Home Justice Project.
WSBA partners with three WA law schools to launch the Moderate Means Program.
WSBA’s license fee rollback presents financial crisis. ATJ Conference is eliminated and ATJ staffing is reduced.
Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy launched through a partnership of the ATJ Board, Seattle University School of Law, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and OCLA.
NW Consumer Law Center established.
Pro Bono Council launched.
LAW Fund merges with LFW; LAW fund assigns resource allocation of private sector funds raised to LFW’s Grants Committee.
ATJ Conference returns after a three-year hiatus.
Civil Legal Needs Study Update is published.
Race and Equity Justice Initiative (REJI) is launched after momentum builds from the ATJ Conference.
Plain language family law forms adopted.
ATJ Technology Symposium brings together people from technology and legal communities.
Civil Justice Reinvestment Plan adopted.
ATJ Board adopts three-year State Plan for Coordinated Delivery of Legal Services to Low-Income People, which sets out race equity as its number one goal.
JustLead Washington formed as new nonprofit to house the Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy and serves as a capacity builder for Alliance organizations’ race equity and leadership development needs. JustLead Washington later serves to staff REJI.
Automated Family Law Forms Project launched with funding from OCLA and LSC.