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Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: The mission of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County is to fight social injustice through civil legal advocacy for people living in poverty. The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County’s vision is for every person to have the basic necessities of life, including safe affordable housing, access to health care, economic security, secure immigration status, an appropriate education and freedom from violence and abuse. We strive to empower people to overcome the causes and effects of poverty so they can participate in their community with dignity and respect. We seek to remove barriers related to poverty, disability, race, language, age, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status through community education, legal representation, systemic advocacy and collaboration with community partners.

Results: Since our founding hundreds of thousands of vulnerable and low income families have been able to stay in affordable homes and/or overcome food insecurity; children have been able to access health care coverage and medical care; adult, teen and senior survivors of domestic violence and elder abuse have been able to stabilize their lives and live in safety.

Target demographics: fight social injustice for people living in poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2309 clients from 7/1/2016-6/30/2017

Geographic areas served: San Mateo County

Programs: legal advice, representation and education

Community Stories

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been involved in the Legal Aid Share-of-Cost clinics for many years. They are one of the most rewarding pro bono activities I do because I get a chance to sit down and talk directly with seniors and disabled adults about helping them get the medical insurance coverage they need. And I get hear some amazing stories from them – they often make me laugh, and they are always so relieved and thankful for any advice I can give.

Comments ( 1 )

mstorch Thank you so much!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with San Mateo legal aid for many years assisting with their healthcare clinics for seniors and the disabled. The system for providing healthcare to these populations is frustrating and difficult to navigate. Legal Aid is wonderful and helps educate us to volunteer and improve these people's lives in dealing with this system. We hear difficult stories of the system and are touched when we are able to help make the system work better. As a volunteer, it is so rewarding to make a difference thanks to Legal Aid!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really enjoy helping with the Share of cost clinic with Legal Aid. They've pre-screened and otherwise structured the clinic very well and provide great support, and it's one of the few pro bono programs where one can usually solve the clients' problems within a single session (which is of course very rewarding for us volunteers).

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Share of Costs clinic is a very good program. They provide good training materials, and excellent backup help is always available during the clinic.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience as a volunteer has been wonderful. Everyone I've met at Legal Aid is kind, welcoming, and has a fierce passion for their mission. Every event I've volunteered at has been run very smoothly and timely. They are a great group of people to work with.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County (Legal Aid) is one of the finest and most beneficial community organizations of which I have been associated. Over 3 years ago, I volunteered at one of Legal Aid's Housing Clinic in Redwood City. Many people know of Legal Aid, its lawyers and volunteers. They trust Legal Aid not just because it is free to the masses that come for help, some, in a last ditch effort to avoid an unlawful eviction. They trust Legal Aid because they know paid staff or not, sound legal advice and critical help and guidance will be found at the clinic. For many who cannot afford a private attorney to help them defend themselves, Legal Aid is a means to level the playing field and find a way to win. I am so proud to be a volunteer; it is good work and every single lawyer who has a few hours a week to spare (or not) should make time to give back to community and to the law by giving of themselves and the causes so well represented by Legal Aid

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Legal Aid is a godsend for San Mateo County. Most of my clients at North East Medical Services in Daly City live in poverty. They are also one of the most vulnerable populations who often need legal help. Without Legal Aid Society, they would not have the ability to fight social injustice such as income, housing, education, and gender inequalities. In addition, workers at Legal Aid Society are professional and diligent people who care about their clients. We need more nonprofits like that! Thank you!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great with Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. It was my first time volunteering at the housing clinic, and I was able to jump right in with a more experienced attorney and begin conducting client interviews. The training materials provided me with a number of ways to address client questions. For any questions that we were stuck on, the supervisor was available on site for us to ask for help. Overall, a tremendously rewarding experience that touches on many different areas of law.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with Legal Aid on a number of domestic violence restraining order applications and they have an amazing team! The work they do on behalf of the community is very important and ensures that cost is not a barrier to legal representation for those who need it the most. I would highly recommend to other attorneys interested in developing a pro bono practice to work with this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an attorney who volunteered to do some pro bono work I found through the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. It was a great experience! The staff there was very supportive and well-organized. They provided me with all the help I needed to win a great result for our client in a tricky guardianship matter, even though the case was outside my normal practice area. I look forward to working with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County again in the future!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My involvement as a volunteer at the Legal Aid Society's housing clinic has been rewarding - both in terms of hands-on experience and the satisfaction of making a difference. A really friendly bunch of people who are easy to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County has made it so easy for me to help out people who are in real distress. They help the most vulnerable in our society. I've volunteered with them many times to represent victims of domestic violence in court so they can get a restraining order against the perpetrators. Without the Legal Aid Society, these folks would be left on their own to deal with a confusing and overwhelming situation. The Legal Aid Society has saved so many lives over the years. I can't think of a better organization to volunteer for.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came across Legal Aid in San Mateo County as I looked for an agency that was working on national issues but on a local level. The staff is embarrassingly effusive in giving thanks for the smallest assistance. I am particularly drawn to the immigration issue but the agency does important work (and not just legal) for people living in poverty in my home county. The tagline says it all for me, "Fighting social injustice through civil legal advocacy for people living in poverty."

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo staff are very responsive to the needs of our community. Their staff are very talented in ensuring people (children, adults, seniors) receive the benefits they are entitled to. I have worked with them to ensure children receive the medical care, educational and transportation services they need. They help advocate for safe, affordable housing. They recruit and train pro-bono attorneys who are amazing as well. I appreciate the passion of the staff and pro-bono attorneys to serve our community, thereby, creating brighter futures for many people.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I believe that LASSMC is the premier legal services organization providing representation for disadvantaged residents of the county. As a practicing attorney for the last 16 years in the county, I have been involved in numerous pro bono cases, and my law firm supports a number of legal non-profits in the area. LASSMC stands out as a highly-focused, well-managed, and powerfully effective pro bono organization. Its attorneys possess credentials and experience that would rank them among the most elite in the private sector, yet they devote themselves to the pursuit of public, rather than private, good. Its superstar attorneys are backed by top-notch executive management with deep experience and decades of proven effectiveness. The organization has developed and successfully maintained broad and deep support within the local legal community and related fields. By virtue of these many strengths, LASSMC continues year after year to expand its track record of expanding access to justice among all of our neighbors in San Mateo County. Its mission yields practical results, and improved lives, for its many needy clients.

Donor

Rating: 5

I participated in the Legal Aid Golf Classic in June and had an amazing time. It was well organized, great course, great food, great prizes, and the staff were very appreciative. I was fortunate enough to be able to play golf while also raise money for this great organization that really makes a difference. Hope to see more out there on the golf course next year!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm proud to be on the board of LASSMC. They have a fantastic staff and do terrific work in the community.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to support San Mateo Legal Aid for the terrific work they do to help families in our community obtain the health care and other services to which they are entitled, and protect them from eviction or unsafe living conditions.

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County ("LASSMC") is a crucial player in the multitude of systems that affect individual's legal rights- be it housing, health care, disability, social security, immigration, or the courts, providing no cost representation and advice to those who might not otherwise have the ability to access such information. As an organization, they help the most vulnerable populations in San Mateo county, but as individuals they do so with a heartfelt passion that creates a safe, caring, and compassionate environment for those populations to truly feel empowered. LASSMC fights for systemic change through policy work (local, state, and nationally) and community involvement, allowing their efforts to have far wider consequences than just helping those that come to their door. Without LASSMC, each year thousands would never have their voices heard.

Every volunteer joins a supportive and knowledgeable team, and every amount of assistance, regardless of size, is supporting and working for those in the community in need of dire assistance. Please consider volunteering or donating today! Be the change.

Donor

Rating: 5

In the legal field, the plight of the most disadvantaged among us has perhaps never been so in focus. Laws are constantly being passed to help protect those most at risk-- children, elderly, low income -- yet the cost to access our legal system to protect those rights has never been greater. The San Mateo Legal Aid Society serves an increasingly important role in helping those who need it most understand and assert their rights. They do an outstanding job of reaching out to the legal community to garner its involvement in providing needed access to legal representation. A very worthy nonprofit that serves the community well and deserves broad support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Legal Aid of San Mateo County is an amazing organization. I have worked with them for the past 3 years as a pro bono attorney and the experience has been one of the most rewarding of my life.

Prior to working with Legal Aid I had very little courtroom experience and my job as a corporate counsel was in stark contrast to the work at Legal Aid. Legal Aid provided mentoring and training so that I could advocate for survivors of domestic violence in court. The work has become a passion of mine and gives me the opportunity to empower survivors to find a safe environment free of violence.

The staff at Legal Aid are tremendous and really great to work with. They are some of my biggest supporters and have even nominated me for a pro bono award with the California Bar. I can't imagine another organization working so hard for it's clients and volunteers. They are truly amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SMLA has terrific training materials and is there to advise its volunteers along the way. They are excellent advisors and make sure that they have services available to the community. They care deeply about their clients.