End of Year Updates

Hey everyone, I know it's been a little while since you've heard from us directly on the blog. First, thank you for following us on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. We re-post a lot Reading the Mapof great content there from sources that we follow all around the internet relevant to our mission. Secondly, I thought I'd take this opportunity to ansswer some frequently asked questions and update everyone on the state of the non-profit!

How is the company shaping up?

Pretty good so far! We've managed to file our articles of incorporation, so we're officially a non-profit corporation. We also recently added a board member, an attorney local to the Bloomington area with 10+ years of experience both in the areas of law we cover, and in supervising interns and students. She's going to bring a wealth of expertise to the company and help with guidance and ethics issues moving forward. Look forward to a new post from her soon to officially introduce herself. We're still trying to raise enough money to file our 1023EZ application which will give us official status with the IRS and make your donations tax-deductible, as well as give us access to a lot of non-profit specific resources.

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The Road Ahead

First off, I have to apologize for not getting blog posts out on time last Thursday or yesterday (Monday). There has been so much to do and so many different things we're working on, it's hard to keep up on the blog all by myself. To make it up to you, I wanted to use this time to provide you a little sneak peek for the road ahead, and the things that we're trying to accomplish by the end of the year.

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How National Licensing Could Help Close the Justice Gap

An incremental move towards a more nationalized licensing process may be an important piece of the puzzle in pairing qualified, passionate attorneys with currently underserved clients who need their help.

Source: How National Licensing Could Help Close the Justice Gap

 

This article first found on The Lawyerist was written earlier in the month, but it seemed especially timely to me given that for most of the recently graduated law class, aspiring young lawyers all over the country have just finished taking their bar exams. Except for you crazy kids in California, good luck on your last day!

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Chart highlighting how access to justice problems result in official misconduct

Access to Justice Should Matter to You

Today, people are rioting across the country because cellphones and cameras have made it possible to share police abuse and brutality instantly. Today, the dishonesty of prosecutors and other government officials is a factor in nearly half of all cases where the accused turns out to be innocent.1 Today, Americans are getting priced out of access to justice by high fees. As the costs of good lawyers have gone up and the pace of life has gone faster and faster, more and more Americans find themselves shut out of the justice system and unsure of how to get ahead. Struggling workers, indigent clients, and young people trying to move up from humble beginnings to the middle class are under-served by the legal market.

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The Justice Gap: Corporate Lawyers Are Making Record Revenues, But Legal Aid Is in Crisis | Susan Beck

There's just one legal aid lawyer for every 8,893 low-income Americans who qualify for legal aid. That's how, in a country with one of the highest concentrations of lawyers in the world, poor people often are forced to represent themselves in life-altering legal matters.

Source: The Justice Gap: Corporate Lawyers Are Making Record Revenues, But Legal Aid Is in Crisis | Susan Beck

 

The gap between the haves and have-nots in this country isn't just limited to the jobs market. It's in the legal market too. This article shows some statistics about how the largest corporate law firms protecting big businesses have improved profits and raked in multi-million dollar bonuses while legal aid funding for the poor has dropped by nearly half over the last decade. Public funding is hard to come by, and private donations have fallen to, it's just harder to get people to give money these days.

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DIscounted Legal Services from Justice Unlocked

Discounted Legal Services From Justice Unlocked

DIscounted Legal Services from Justice Unlocked

How does the law even work?

How will discounted legal services work? How will we decide who gets to use our services? Just how much of a discount is "discounted"? Basically, people want to know, exactly what are we going to be doing with our new organization? And in today's blog post, I'm going to break that down for you.

The whole idea behind Justice Unlocked is getting people who want an attorney help, even when they normally can't afford one. If your matter is civil (like most protective orders, divorces, or business disputes are) then you don't get a free lawyer from the courts. Legal Aid societies might not be able to help you either. There's a lot of people who make "too much" money to get help from these programs, but who don't make enough to afford a quality attorney.

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Justice Unlocked – New Launch

Welcome to Justice Unlocked! This post is celebrating the launch of our website and fundraising efforts, and we hope that you'll take a look around and make us a regular part of your news feed. Justice Unlocked is a new non-profit charity organization that hopes to provide legal representation to under-served communities. You'll find out a lot more about us by looking around and subscribing to our blog. In the meantime, let me run down some of the basics.

Justice Unlocked logo in color

Who is Justice Unlocked?

 

A modern kind of organization, we're not your dad's law firm. Justice Unlocked is organized as a non-profit corporation and are registering for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. During our experiences in graduate and law school, each of the board members have become concerned with the way the legal system is stacked against minorities and the poor. The law is becoming more complex. And as the gap widens between the haves and have-nots there is a gap of coverage where people who need an attorney, can't afford one. If you're like me, you have wanted help from a lawyer for custody, a divorce, figuring out how to start a business, or a small-claims court issue. You probably could have benefited from some legal help but you don't get free attorneys unless you're in extreme poverty or have committed a crime, and you couldn't afford an attorney.

That's where we're going to come in.

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