A law academy for low-income high school students in Oakland is one of several projects recently funded by grants from the California Lawyers Foundation, the California Lawyers Association’s charitable arm and partner.
Centro Legal de La Raza will use the $15,000 grant to provide support, mentoring, and training for 36 students who will go through the program this year. The program is designed to get students ready for college and teach them about the legal system to consider a career in the law.
The grant was one of four approved in December to advance CLA and CLF’s shared mission of promoting excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law.
The other grants are:
- $40,000 to support new and ongoing social media efforts by the Judicial Fairness Coalition, created by the California Judges Association. The coalition wants to engage the public in conversation via social media to further civics education. Consultants will also help the coalition develop and disseminate messaging about the importance of an impartial judiciary.
- $20,000 for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area to support low-income small businesses facing commercial eviction related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit will develop a toolkit for sole proprietorships representing themselves, provide limited-scope legal services to commercial tenants, provide full-scope representation when needed, and engage in policy campaigns to protect small businesses from eviction.
- $50,000 for the California Access to Justice Commission to create a pilot project to bring legal services to rural areas. The project would connect pro bono lawyers in urban areas with small business proprietors in at least two rural areas.
The new series of grants builds on the foundation’s contributions since its founding in 2019.
The foundation and CLA helped launch California Free Legal Answers in 2020, a virtual legal advice clinic offering ongoing help to low-income residents. Areas of help include COVID-19 and wildfire-related issues, and family, divorce, custody, housing, eviction, homelessness, consumer rights, financial, work, employment, unemployment, health, disability, civil rights, income maintenance, juvenile, and education law.
In September 2021, the foundation awarded grants to:
- $26,500 for continued funding of California Free Legal Answers.
- $25,000 for Disaster Legal Services California to help buy a database for volunteer management and outreach to address disasters.
- $158,000 for the California Project Directors Association to build and customize a California statewide pro bono portal and support the portal for one year.
- $35,000 in continued funding for the Legal Education Access Pipeline (LEAP), which provides fellowships to prospective law students in Los Angeles, expanding to Santa Clara in 2022.