About JusticeCorps

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May 16, 2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of the California JusticeCorps Program. A celebration at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, the first JusticeCorps program site, brought together program staff statewide and court leadership to swear in Los Angeles' new JusticeCorps class of 2014.

Impacts

The JusticeCorps program assists California courts in meeting the needs of self-represented litigants (people who come to court without lawyers) by recruiting and training over 250 college students and recent graduates annually to help litigants in California’s court-based self-help centers. JusticeCorps members make a commitment to national service by :

  • Assisting court staff with legal workshops
  • Helping self-represented litigants complete legal forms
  • Providing information and referrals
  • Offering language assistance to customers when necessary

JusticeCorps members work under the supervision of court attorneys. Since the program began in 2004, 1,700 members have successfully completed the program and have had the following impact:

  • Provided 490,000 instances of assistance in up to 24 different languages
  • Filed 330,000 legal documents
  • Completed more than 500,000 hours of national service

For more information:

Background

The ability of individuals facing family, housing, financial and personal safety crises to access the legal system and understand and safeguard their rights is vital to achieving economic self-sufficiency and promoting community stability. To help improve access to justice and ensure fair outcomes for all, California has committed to doing more to help people who need to resolve important civil legal issues but don’t have professional representation. California Rule of Court 10.960 provides that court-based self help centers are a core function. Self-help centers serve as a single point of access for court users navigating the court system on their own. The JusticeCorps members serving in these centers provide legal information, not advice-- they help people help themselves. Funded by the California Judicial Branch and an AmeriCorps grant, JusticeCorps was first launched as a pilot program in Los Angeles County in 2004, expanded to the Bay Area in fall 2006, and then to San Diego in fall 2007.Currently, over 250 members serve in the program annually. Minimum-time members commit to 300 hours during an academic year in self-help centers. In return, they receive approximately 30 hours of training as well as a education award when they complete the program. The program also offers full-time service opportunities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and San Diego. Full-time members serve 1,700 hours and receive a $20,000 living allowance throughout their one-year term of service.

Awards

JusticeCorps has been honored with several awards in its 10 years including a Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts in 2006, a National Association of Court Management National Association for Court Management Justice Achievement recognition in 2010, highlighted as one of of 52 of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps Programs in the United States by America’s Service Commissions and Innovations in Civic Participation in 2010.

Most recently, JusticeCorps was honored for its role in cultivating and educating a more diverse bench and bar by the California State Bar Council on Access and Fairness with its 2014 Education Pipeline Award.

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