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Legal Aid Headlines

News Roundup, May 5th – June 3rd

By Kristin Parker

Over the past few weeks, civil legal aid has been featured in the news nationally and locally. Below are a few of our favorite headlines, and if you’re interested in more stories about legal aid and our grantees, check out the In the News page of our website.

June 3, 2016Immigrant Advocates Work to Fight ‘Notary Fraud’
We are excited to see that Northwest Public Radio ran a story featuring one of our annual grantees – Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). NWIRP has teamed up with the Washington Attorney General to put a stop to notary fraud. In Spanish, the word for notary is often a title held by a lawyer, so many Spanish-speaking immigrants seeking citizenship have been given false advice and tricked into paying unnecessary fees by notaries who pose as attorneys.

June 2, 2016 Hank Aaron, Andrew Young, Jim Harbaugh Talk Up Legal Aid
This past week at a high school in Atlanta, baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh, and former UN Ambassador Andrew Young met to discuss the importance of legal aid. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a national nonprofit that administers all federal funding for civil legal aid, created a new “Leaders Council” to convene high-profile, influential leaders from various industries to raise public awareness about the current crisis of our civil justice system. This type of hype is making us wonder – will someone from Washington step up and join the Leaders Council?

June 1, 2016 Legal Aid with a Digital Twist
The New York Times published an exciting article about the use of technology to help low-income people access the civil justice system. One example  is LawHelp Interactive, which helps people fill out legal forms electronically and is used by the Northwest Justice Project. As our state continues to work on solutions to address the sobering findings of the 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update, we’ll likely see new such technologies implemented to help make the justice system more accessible.

May 31, 2016 Legal Aid, Other Help for Crime Victims in Washington Expands Dramatically
Exciting news for our state! Washington will soon receive increased federal funding to expand civil legal services for crime victims, chiefly survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as well as identity theft. This new funding will employ 35 full-time attorneys, 4.5 immigrant legal advocates, and staff for domestic violence hotlines. Director of the Office of Civil Legal Aid Jim Bamberger said this funding is the single biggest infusion of money for civil legal aid Washington has ever received.

May 28, 2016Judge Orders Washington Medicaid to Provide Lifesaving Hepatitis C Drugs for All
The Seattle Times reported on the work of another LFW annual grantee – Columbia Legal Services (CLS). CLS partnered with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School and the firm of Sirianni, Youtz, Spoonemore & Hamburger to co-file a class action lawsuit, which resulted in a ruling from a federal judge ordering Washington’s Medicaid provider to cover hepatitis C drugs for all people with the disease, not just those who are the sickest. The story ran in several other publications, including: The Olympian, The Washington Times, and Kaiser Health News.

May 9, 2016 Help Protecting Legal Rights in Whatcom County
The Bellingham Herald ran a nice spotlight of the work of one of our annual grantees – LAW Advocates. Established in 1987, LAW Advocates provides free legal assistance to low-income people throughout Whatcom County. They provide services for issues ranging from domestic violence and family law to homelessness and disability claims, leveraging roughly $250,000 worth of pro bono work annually.

Additional legal aid headlines:

May 23, 2016Feds Pass Out Paychecks to Blueberry Workers

May 17, 2016 – One More Way the Courts Aren’t Working for the Poor

May 13, 2016How the High Cost of Justice Pushes the Poor Into Prison

May 11, 2016How States Are Failing to Provide Justice for All

May 11, 2016Poor People Don’t Stand A Chance In Court

May 10, 2016Winning Attorneys in Sakuma Pay Case Seek $235,000

May 5, 2016Judge in Seattle Orders Somali Teen Returned to Foster Family