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.
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.
Being a 501(c)(3) means that Justice Unlocked will be able to raise money from government grants, private foundations, and community supporters instead of charging high fees. We'll be able to take on cases in criminal defense, family law, small claims, and civil lawsuits that other attorneys would pass up. We'll have an easy to understand sliding scale from 150% of the federal poverty level (the upper limit for free legal aid organizations) up to 400% where our fees will be based off client income, down to as little as $40 an hour.
Justice Unlocked will also run a grant-sponsored clinic for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Because these types of crime are especially heinous and the victims too often are left with no support network to help them navigate the system, we'll take on many cases pro bono. . . completely free. A staff of experienced volunteers will provide complete services to help people find shelter or new housing, access counseling services, and guide victims through every step of the legal system.
Of course, you can always read more about us on the page called.... About Us!
That sounds great, how can I support Justice Unlocked?
I'm so glad that you asked! Right now we've got a fund-raising campaign going on where we're trying to raise money in order to file for official 501(c)(3) status, file charitable solicitation requirements, and take care of some of the other kinds of paperwork so we can be a real company. But more importantly than donating (which we hope you'll do often and frequently) is to share news about us with your friends. Like us on Google+, follow us on Twitter, Like us and share our posts on Facebook, subscribe to the blog. We're going to use this platform to give out lots of great news, information, and some really interesting think-pieces by great academics that we know. Following and sharing Justice Unlocked will mean more and more people get a chance to see what we're about and potentially support us and find help too.
And besides helping us, you'll also be helping yourselves. We plan to take the educational component of our mission seriously, and plan on producing a series of educational presentations and videos about different topics related to our work. These will always be given out free of charge, and will make great resources for those interested in non-profits, the law, or the struggle of women and other under-served communities.
We also plan on holding various fund-raising events slowly over the course of the next two years while we build a solid foundation. These will probably be in Nashville, TN and Bloomington, IN initially, but we're hoping to be able to slowly work towards events in Athens and Savannah, GA as well. We're also working on some exciting ideas for online events, auctions, and contests which will let you show off your support and your creativity at the same time.
If you own a business and would like to donate your time/work or become a corporate sponsor, feel free to Contact Us and get in touch so that we can work out making sure you're properly recognized on the site. And if you're just a private individual looking to get become a Gold Star Sponsor, you can do the same!
Last but not least, we've partnered with a print-on-demand service called Zazzle in order to produce some great products with the Justice Unlocked logo. We've got everything from laptop bags and day planners to infant t-shirts and coffee mugs. You'll be able to show off your support and get a tangible and useful item as well. Items are created whenever you order, Zazzle handles shipping and all customer service, and Justice Unlocked gets to keep between 15-25% of the purchase price.