As a non-profit law firm, Central California Legal Services Inc. (CCLS) provides the working poor, immigrants, families with young children, persons with disabilities, veterans, survivors of domestic violence and elder abuse, seniors, and other low-income individuals of Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Merced, Mariposa, and Tuolumne Counties with free legal aid services. Through its advocacy, CCLS aspires to advance justice and empower people.
In the case of access to the judicial system by low-income individuals, numerous studies show there is always more of a demand for services than legal aid programs can provide. A report authored by the California Commission on Access to Justice found that nowhere is this more evident than in the rural communities of the State of California. Further, the continuing recession has brought new individuals into legal aid offices to seek help, but diminishing resources make it difficult for legal aid to adequately help these individuals with their legal needs. It follows that voluntary legal service, in the form of pro bono legal aid assistance, is more important now than ever.
Recognizing the special needs of legal aid clients, pro bono activities focus on providing access to the justice system for persons who would otherwise be unable to afford it. With this great need in mind, Chief Justice Ronald M. George launched the Central Valley Pro Bono Challenge in Fresno. The Challenge is designed to increase the level of pro bono service provided to legal aid clients by attorneys, law students and other community volunteers in the Central Valley.
In this effort, Chief Justice Ronald M. George is supported by the California Access to Justice Commission, CCLS, and OneJustice.