Thanks to the many individuals and law firms that have already made their annual gift to EAJ! Help us reach our $250,000 goal by making your gift before March 31st! Easily donate online, call us at (505) 339-8096, or explore other ways to give. Your gifts are an investment in our community, and a perfect way to fulfill your pro-bono obligations by supporting civil legal services!
This year is especially important for Equal Access to Justice and our partner legal aid organizations. As the pandemic continues to adversely impact New Mexican families, our neighbors and community members have been reaching out to civil legal service providers at historically high levels. Now, more than ever, our community needs our increased support to help resolve difficult legal issues.
Unfair housing practices, denial of health and employment benefits, predatory lending, and other situations unfairly disadvantage many New Mexicans. However, when people have access to basic legal resources, representation, and equal opportunities it can change the trajectory of their lives.
The organizations EAJ funds, through unrestricted, noncompetitive grants - New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, DNA-People's Legal Services, and New Mexico Legal Aid - are providing these essential legal services and advocacy right now.
EAJ's annual campaign committee invites you to make an investment in our community, through your meaningful contribution to Equal Access to Justice. Donations may be made online by following this link. To learn more about the various ways to support EAJ, please click here.
Equal Access to Justice is proud to support New Mexico Legal Aid, the largest provider of civil legal services in the state, serving all 33 counties. For over 60 years, NMLA has dedicated their services to erasing barriers to justice for low-income New Mexicans by providing free, civil legal assistance and education. In a state where almost half a million residents live under the poverty line, NMLA provides essential services to vulnerable New Mexicans who are faced with legal emergencies. Through direct legal representation and assistance, NMLA helps 15-20,000 people annually, and educates tens of thousands more about their legal rights and how to protect themselves and their families. Follow this link to read about their recent support of agricultural workers' rights, and their efforts to support tenants during the pandemic.
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is being honored this year with the Outstanding Legal Organization Award by the State Bar of New Mexico!
Equal Access to Justice is proud to support New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, a critical anchor institution for systemic change in our state. Founded 25 years ago, NMCLP advances economic and social justice through education, advocacy, and litigation. NMCLP works in movement with communities to take bold action. Their work serves hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans statewide, particularly those living in low-income communities, immigrants, Native Americans, and homeless and near homeless clients. Follow this link, to learn how gifts to NMCLP help improve living conditions, increase opportunities and protect the rights of all New Mexicans!
DNA-People's Legal Services is one of the incredible civil legal aid organizations supported by EAJ. Annually, DNA provides legal assistance to 2,000 people, directly benefits 6,000 people, and reaches more than 100,000 people via its community legal education. Of the people DNA is able to assist, the majority fall below 125% of the federal poverty level. To read more about recent solutions and programs, click on this link.
Equal Access to Justice's Board of Directors is grateful for and recognizes the partnership of 19 volunteer committee members and 317 attorneys, law firms, and other concerned community members that came together to support the critical civil legal needs in New Mexico. Through their generosity and unwavering belief in the critical need for civil legal services, over $222, 895 was raised during Equal Access to Justice's annual campaign.
Volunteer Campaign Committee Member, Ed Marks, shares, "As the former Executive Director for New Mexico Legal Aid, I can tell you that even in the best of times government funding and private foundation grants for civil legal aid programs are able to meet only about 20% of the need. EAJ dollars are the most flexible of all the funding sources available for New Mexico's legal aid programs, allowing each program a strategically invaluable cushion to make sure that the most vulnerable residents and their families don't get turned away."
For over 30 years, Equal Access to Justice has been funding justice for all, in collaboration with New Mexico Legal Aid, New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty, and DNA- People's Legal Services. Contributions to EAJ help increase access to justice for New Mexicans by providing unrestricted, noncompetitive funds to these organizations that, collectively, meet critical legal needs by providing direct representation, legal information, and systemic advocacy.
In the fall of 2020, to help kick off our campaign, we interviewed three New Mexico civil legal service attorneys regarding one of the most pressing civil legal issues of our time -- evictions.
These three short videos answer the following questions:
Brenda Anderson of DNA-People's Legal Services, Maria Griego of New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty, and Tom Prettyman of New Mexico Legal Aid share their first-hand knowledge and experiences of working to help families stay sheltered safely in their homes during this pandemic.
Our gratitude to communications expert and videographer Dorian Cundick for her pro-bono video editing and advice.
in 2018, the current administration quietly closed the Justice Department's Access to Justice Office. A group of lawmakers are currently working to reopen this office.
"The reality is that the federal government's response needs to be more holistic with respect to the legal needs of low-income and underrepresented people," she said. "Not having an office considering the issue of access to justice right now is a problem." - Maha Jweied, final ATJ acting director
Read the article by clicking HERE.
The impact of the COVID pandemic and subsequent economic downturn will have devastating effects on many of those most already impacted. "For years, legal aid has served as a stopgap in a social safety net system that, as Bergmark put it, is spectacularly 'skewed towards disqualifying people.' But 'what’s coming down the tracks,' she told me, 'is an out-of-control train': millions of people about to emerge from the pandemic newly jobless and poor; facing eviction, hungry creditors, and soon-to-be-denied benefits; about to become acquainted with the meager portion of justice America reserves for people like them."
Read the full article, "No Money, No Lawyer, No Justice: The vast, hidden inequalities of the civil legal system" here.
Thanks to the generous support from individuals, law firms, and solo practitioners, we exceeded our 2019-20 campaign goal by over $16,000. The organizations these contributions support are stepping up to help ensure that New Mexicans are not being forgotten and have critical information in the midst of this pandemic.