Our Work

Over the past year, your partnership and strong support of the California Lawyers Foundation has helped improve access to justice in our community, diversify the profession to more significantly meet the needs of California’s diverse population and educate students across our state.

Here a just a few highlights of our work and upcoming plans:

Comic Book: What Do Lawyers and Judges Do?

Creating greater diversity in the legal profession begins in kindergarten and continues through law school.  Tools like this comic book serve to engage students at an early age and introduce them to the idea that people who look like them are and can be legal professionals.  This comic book is based on the Missouri Bar’s coloring Book, “What Do Lawyers and Judges Do?”, which was a project of the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers Section and the Missouri Bar Citizen Education Program.  We sincerely thank the Missouri Bar for their collaboration on this project!

To order copies of the Comic Book for your classroom, please reach out to Lauren.Oakley@Calawyers.org.

Brochure: “When You Turn 18: A Legal Survival Guide”

Providing civic education and resources is one of our priorities.  As citizens of California, your rights and legal responsibilities only change a couple of times and when you turn eighteen is certainly one of them.  In 2021, CLF worked with the California Lawyers Association to update this twenty-four-page brochure which was previously a publication of The State Bar of California.  This resource covers many of the legal considerations that new adults face including rental agreements and housing, car insurance and road safety, parties and substance use, banking, marriage and partnerships, crimes and consequences, and so much more.  With California’s diverse population in mind, we have made a digital copy of this publication available in Spanish.   

To order copies of the English brochure, please reach out to Lauren.Oakley@calawyers.org.

FreeLegalAnswers 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 Freelegalanswers (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. 

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.  Many are available in both English and Spanish. This project originally included over 40 videos and received the National Conference of Bar Foundation’s Partnership for Success Award.

Train the Teachers Professional Development Program

While several California counties have been successful reintroducing civics into the curriculum at the school district level, there are very few professional development trainings to support this work.  The CLF is proud to 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 as a series of short-form videos.

California Judicial Diversity Summit

CLF is a co-sponsor of the next Judicial Diversity Summit, slated for 2021.  This critical event takes place every 5 years and creates the strategic agenda of issues to address to increase judicial diversity in our state. 

Diversity Leadership Summit

Developing leaderships 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 diversity fellow programs for law students in specialized practice areas. 

What Motivates Us?  What Fuels Our Why?

Want to learn more about why access to justice, DEI and civics engagement are  the focus of our work?  These reports and studies explain these critical unmet needs:  

Access to Justice

State Bar of California Justice Gap Study

California Assembly Judiciary Committee 2020 Informational Hearing:  How Can California Improve Access to Justice for Unrepresented Litigants?

California Access to Justice Commission: Disasters in Rural California and the Impact on Access to Justice

California Access to Justice Commission: California Attorney Desserts:  Access to Justice Implications of the Rural Attorney Shortage

Civics Engagement

California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning: Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning In California: A Blueprint For Action

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion