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NCJ Number: 49091 Find in a Library
Title: STORE FRONT LAWYERS IN SAN FRANCISCO
Journal: TRANSACTION  Volume:7  Issue:6  Dated:(APRIL 1970)  Pages:64-74
Author(s): J E CARLIN
Date Published: 1970
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, IS OUTLINED WITH EMPHASIS ON THE CONFLICTS BETWEEN COMMUNITY CONTROL ADVOCATES AND MAIN OFFICE STAFF.
Abstract: THE NLAF IS A FEDERALLY FINANCED, COMMUNITY-CONTROLLED LEGAL SERVICE AGENCY WHICH HAS BEEN AGGRESSIVELY ADVOCATING THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR SINCE 1966. EVERY MONTH, THE NLAF'S FIVE NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICES PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES FOR NEARLY 1,000 NEW CLIENTS, MOST OF WHOM ARE ON WELFARE. PROBLEMS WITH FAMILIES, ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES (WELFARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, UNEMPLOYMENT, IMMIGRATION, AND THE DRAFT), AND LANDLORDS AND MERCHANTS CONSTITUTE THE BULK OF THE CASES. COURT DECISIONS INVOLVING RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR WELFARE ELIGIBILITY AND THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR FACING RELOCATION DUE TO URBAN RENEWAL PROJECTS HAVE HAD FAR-REACHING IMPACT AND CONSTITUTE PROGRESS TOWARD NLAF'S GOALS OF FOSTERING INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE. NLAF'S SECOND MAJOR GOAL HAS BEEN COMMUNITY CONTROL OF LEGAL SERVICES. ALTHOUGH NLAF HAS GONE FAR IN MEETING BOTH THESE GOALS, THE DIFFERENCES IN PRIORITIES THEY INVOLVE HAS GENERATED INTERNAL CONFLICT BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICE STAFF MEMBERS AND MAIN OFFICE STAFF. WHEN NLAF WAS INITIALLY CONCEIVED, A COLLECTION OF LARGELY AUTONOMOUS NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICES WITH A CENTRALIZED ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF WAS ENVISIONED. AS THE FOUNDATION GREW, THE SIZE OF THE MAIN OFFICE STAFF GREW AND THE TWO GOALS WERE SPLIT, WITH NEIGHBORHOOD STAFF HANDLING A LARGE VOLUME OF DIRECT LEGAL SERVICES WHILE THE MAIN OFFICE DEALT PRIMARILY WITH THE MAJOR SOCIAL CHANGE-ORIENTED CASES. NEIGHBORHOOD LAWYERS FELT THEY WERE CARRYING THE BURDEN OF PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE POVERTY COMMUNITY WITH LITTLE OR NO HELP FROM THE MAIN OFFICE. BITTERNESS ALSO AROSE OVER THE ALLOCATION OF LIMITED FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO SPECULATIVE CREATIVE ADVOCACY CASES RATHER THAN TO SATISFYING THE IMMEDIATE LEGAL NEEDS OF THE CLIENTS. THE TENSION CREATED BY THE TWO GOALS AND THE GROWING ANTAGONISM BETWEEN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND MAIN OFFICES MADE IT APPARENT THAT STRUCTURAL CHANGE WOULD BE REQUIRED. IN DECEMBER 1969, A BLACK LAWYER, PREVIOUSLY ON THE STAFF OF A NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICE, WAS CHOSEN TO SUCCEED THE FORMER NLAF COORDINATOR. WHILE NOT UNSYMPATHETIC TO MAIN OFFICE GOALS, HE CLEARLY REPRESENTS THE INTERESTS AND PERSPECTIVES OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICES. IT IS LIKELY THAT UNDER NEW LEADERSHIP THE TENSIONS WILL BE REDUCED AND THE MAIN OFFICE WILL SERVE PRIMARILY AS A BACKUP RESOURCE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICES. (JAP)
Index Term(s): California; Citizen legal problems; Community involvement; Community support; Indigents; Legal aid services; Role conflict; Social change
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49091

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