While new to the scene, the CLF is a statewide foundation actively developing and supporting projects that improve access to justice for people in need and make the legal system more fair and efficient for everyone; increasing diversity in the profession and helping educate Californians about the 3rd branch, the role of lawyers and the rule of law.
CLF’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession, fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law, access to justice, and greater civic engagement and understanding.
Over the past year, the California Lawyers Foundation has helped improve access to justice in their community, diversify the profession to more significantly meet the needs of California’s diverse population, and educate students across their state.
Navigating COVID-19 Issues Video Project
In response to the pandemic, the CLF has supported a video project for the public bringing basic legal information in a variety of areas impacted by COVID-19, including bankruptcy, employee issues, employer issues, family (custody, spousal support, DV), federal stimulus packages/CARES issues, healthcare/telehealth, small business, tax, and tenant rights/eviction. The Navigating COVID-19 public video project, a series of over 45 public service videos produced by the California Lawyers Association and co-sponsored and funded by the California Lawyers Foundation, provides free legal information to empower low-income Californians and small business owners during the pandemic. The project was launched within ten days of California’s shelter in place orders, providing an immediate bridge to information when courts were shut down in California.
NCBF, in partnership with LexisNexis, was pleased to honor the California Lawyers Foundation as the 2020 recipient of the NCBF-LexisNexis Partnership for Success Award during a virtual awards ceremony in November.
The video series, including videos in English and Spanish, is available here.
Here a just a few other highlights of CLF’s work and upcoming plans:
Free Legal Answers Limited Scope Pro Bono Project for California
This project provides limited scope pro bono assistance in the areas of housing (evictions), family (changes in spousal support and custody), and employment, as a result of COVID-19, to low income Californians who are 400% below the federal poverty line using the ABA’s Free Legal Answers (www.freelegalanswers.org) platform. In partnership with the California Lawyers Association, Legal Access Alameda, and the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative, the project will provide statewide assistance to thousands in need.
Train the Teachers Professional Development Program
While several California counties have been successful in reintroducing civics into the curriculum at the school district level, there are very few professional development pieces of training to support this work. The CLF will support a pilot virtual training program in 2021 modeled from a former Judicial Council’s program called On My Honor.
Diverse Lawyers Video Project
This project captures the many pathways of diverse attorneys into practice.
California Judicial Diversity Summit
CLF is a co-sponsor of the next Judicial Diversity Summit, slated for 2021. This critical event takes place every five years and creates the strategic agenda of issues to address to increase judicial diversity in their state.
Diversity Leadership Summit
Developing leadership skills for diverse attorneys is a critical step in the pathway to the bench. CLF will co-sponsor this important project in conjunction with CLA in 2021.
Diversity Fellowship Programs
The Foundation supports a number of diverse fellow programs for law students in specialized practice areas.
Staff and Leadership
The CLF is supported by four staff members, led by Executive Director Ona Alston Dosunmu. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors of committed trailblazers in the legal community. Meet their Board and Professional Team here.
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