LAAC Founded in 1983
- In the early 1980s, during the period when federal funding for legal services was under attack, the State Bar of California convened a meeting of legal services providers from around the state. These organizations identified the need for a statewide legal services presence and so passed a resolution to create LAAC. LAAC was founded in 1983 as a membership organization in order to keep its work tied to programs’ needs.
LAAC and OneJustice
- From the late 1980s to the late 1990s, the LAAC board of directors contracted with OneJustice (then the Public Interest Clearinghouse) for staffing LAAC’s administrative and program tasks and paid OneJustice approximately $12,000 per year (the amount raised from membership dues). During this time period, OneJustice staff assumed LAAC projects on an ad hoc basis, including organizing trainings, undertaking advocacy and statewide coordination, and creating the Dan Bradley Fellowships and LAAC Awards of Merit. However, there were no staff specifically designed as “LAAC staff,” and program delivery was constricted by LAAC’s limited financial resources.
2001 LAAC Expansion
- In 2001, the LAAC board developed a plan to expand LAAC through additional funding and setting specific programmatic priorities for LAAC to accomplish with the increased funds. The board’s proposal was presented to legal services organizations at the 2001 Equal Justice Conference in San Diego and received resounding support from the programs represented, as members and non-members committed to strengthening LAAC leadership and obtaining 100% membership of programs funded through the Legal Services Trust Fund of the State Bar of California. Programs agreed with the board’s proposal and committed significantly increased support through membership dues to help fund this expansion. At the same time, the State Bar of California Office of Legal Services, with the support of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), agreed to also support the proposed expansion of LAAC’s statewide coordination role through the creation of a fee-for-service contract of $130,000 from the State Bar’s fees for administering the Equal Access Fund.
- LAAC has grown immensely over the years. To contrast with LAAC’s first years of existence, with no designated staff and a budget of around $12,000, today LAAC has six full- and part-time staff, a small group of dedicated interns and volunteers, and a total combined revenue in FY2014-2015 of more than $400,000.