Our tag line, “because justice first requires access, ” underscores what we’re about.
Historically, underrepresented and low-income persons have encountered great difficulty in obtaining effective civil legal representation. A lack of finances, entrenched poverty, inadequate knowledge of how the system works—amount to very real barriers that prevent individuals from “accessing” the civil courts and attorneys. In turn, this loss of access often results in people losing a place to live or the chance to see children when families are in turmoil. The loss of access to the civil justice system—and the lost chance to protect core human needs—has been called the “Justice Gap.”
Simply put, our goal is to close the Justice Gap. We are working in a variety of ways, with a number of strategies, to eliminate barriers and hurdles that prevent low-income and moderate-income people from accessing the civil justice system and obtaining effective legal assistance.
There are three components to the Call for Justice Project. The first is the Legal Liaison Program (LLP), in which we train social service providers on how to identify legal needs and make targeted legal referrals for their clients. These front-line human service staff are then able to connect their low-income clients on how to get their legal needs met, and are able to partner with local legal service providers to deliver a more holistic range of services. In effect, Call for Justice’s LLP provides the community education and outreach about legal resources so that legal aid attorneys can devote their time to representing clients instead.
The second component is the legal referral helpline, connecting callers with a broad range of available legal resources based on their individual needs. Call for Justice is the only statewide clearinghouse of all available legal resources in Minnesota.
The third component is operating as a catalyst for systemic change. Call for Justice works diligently within the legal community to promote more effective delivery of legal resources and expansion of pro bono assistance to help meet the enormous need for free legal help. We also use our unique position within both the legal and human service provider communities to identify gaps in service and create strategic partnerships to help fill those gaps.
In sum, Call for Justice is a small but mighty nonprofit that runs on a lean budget with broad-based support from the legal community. We are committed to using innovative, “outside the box” approaches to creating new collaborations, new service models, and new thinking about the justice gap.