Civil legal aid in the US: Current snapshot


Civil legal aid in the United States is provided by a large number of separate and independent staff-based service providers funded by a variety of sources. NLADA estimated that 1,147 staff-based programs, employing 6,783 FTE attorneys, are involved in some form of civil legal assistance to the poor. The current overall funding is approximately $1.582 billion.

The US system of civil legal aid is characterized by:

  • A diverse set of programs providing civil legal assistance
  • A range of initiatives to serve clients,
  • A wide range of funding sources,
  • Considerable fragmentation of the civil legal aid system,
  • Lack of state coordination, and
  • Inequality in funding both across states and within states.