Client Comment

"I again want to say what an excellent job you did, both on the analysis as well as in the presentation to the Committee. You were clear, concise and obviously framed the issues so that the Supervisors were clear about their policy options. The thoroughness of your analysis certainly was affirmed by all and the report was a pleasure to read!!! Thanks again for your excellent work."

Client: The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors

The Challenge: We were asked to assess the unmet civil legal needs of indigent Santa Clara County residents and explore options for allocating $800,000 in county funding to legal service providers.

Our Approach

Counties recognize that a large number of their residents are without needed civil legal services but may be uncertain how to effectively assess the unmet need.  We addressed this problem by estimating the number of parties who appear without lawyers before courts and administrative agencies; analyzing demographic trends about underserved households; and evaluating services currently provided.  We then developed refined estimates of need in each area of law (e.g. immigration, employment rights, housing, family law), providing options to the Board of Supervisors for allocating available county funding.

The Results

  • An additional 3,000 residents served annually with new county resources.
  • A system for allocating future county funding.
  • A much more reliable estimate of the total number of underserved indigent households in the county in each area of law.
  • An awareness of structural needs, specifically, better coordination between existing legal service providers, an expansion of pro bono activities and fostering community legal education and outreach.

Consultants: Kate Harrison and Hampton Smith

For more information about this project, please click here to request the Executive Summary.

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