And Justice For All
And Justice for All (AJFA) is a nonprofit created in 1998 by Utah’s primary providers of civil legal services – Disability Law Center, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake and Utah Legal Services. Despite having differing missions, these three agencies shared a common vision of creating equal access to our system of justice in Utah.
By joining forces, they provide a stable and consistent source of legal services for those who cannot afford legal representation because of disability, poverty, age, migrant status, or race. They moved into a shared building and have become the place for pro-bono legal services for those most in need. Their work later expanded to include a grants program providing funding for other nonprofit legal assistance agencies in Utah who ensure that every citizen has access to the courts system.
Today, And Justice for All serves those most in need – impoverished citizens, people living with disabilities, military veterans, and victims of domestic abuse. Utah Legal Services is where Jane started her legal career. Jane and Tami’s commitment to legal services for the underserved guides their giving and involvement in AJFA. They are proud to support AJFA’s innovating programs leveraging technology, pro bono attorneys, and increasing organizational capacity growing the number of individuals who receive in-court legal advice and representation, including document clinics and e-learning modules for rural clients, and programs that investigate financial abuse of people with disabilities.
For more information, or to donate to And Justice for All, please visit www.andjusticeforall.org.
Studies consistently show that in contested matters in court, the outcome often turns on whether or not a low income or disadvantaged person has representation. Some findings from studies include:
Domestic Violence. Domestic violence survivors represented by an attorney are 2½ times more likely to be successful in obtaining a protective order than those who do not have a lawyer.
Eviction. Tenants represented by a lawyer were six times more likely than unrepresented ones to win in court. Generally, almost 90% of landlords are represented by a lawyer, while less than 10% of tenants have representation.
Debt Collection. A defendant with a lawyer was four times more likely to prevail in a debt collection case than a defendant who was unrepresented. Represented defendants secured a settlement in nearly 25% of the cases, compared to 6.4% for unrepresented defendants.
Special Education. In special education due process hearings, without a lawyer, the parent and child won only 20% of the time. With representation, that number rose to 50%.
DLC Keeps Joan in Her Home
Joan is disabled and relies on her son to help her with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and cleaning. A few days before Christmas, her landlord attempted to evict her, saying her son was an "unauthorized guest," and refused The Disability Law Center's request for reasonable accommodation.
The DLC successfully defended the client from eviction in state court, then pursued a fair housing claim with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. After a two-year investigation, the DLC entered into a favorable settlement agreement on behalf of Joan. Under the terms of the agreement, the landlord agreed to pay Joan and her son damages, change the apartment building's "reasonable accommodation" policy, and undertake significant retrofitting of the building to encourage accessibility.