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Step Up To Justice

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Legal Services

Mission: Step Up to Justice is an award-winning, full-service, free civil legal center for low-income individuals and families in Pima County, powered by the talents of volunteer attorneys. Through careful financial stewardship and technology designed to bring civil legal services to clients where and when they need them, Step Up to Justice builds connections between clients, attorneys, and community partners. Step Up to Justice is ground-breaking, forward-thinking, and committed to advancing efforts to secure equal access to justice for all.

Results: Since January 1, 2017, Step Up to Justice has served 4,235 Applicants, hosted 1,440 Client Clinics, engaged 210 Volunteer Attorneys, and delivered over $4.5 million in free legal services to Pima County. Together, we have increased free civil legal assistance in Southern Arizona by 25%.

Target demographics: low-income individuals and families with civil legal problems

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,000 individuals

Geographic areas served: Tucson and Pima County, Arizona

Programs: free legal assistance and advice, including direct representation in family law, housing, employment, domestic protections, minor guardianship, end of life planning, and other areas.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In many years of community service, I have had no more rewarding experiences than in two years so far volunteering at Step Up 2 Justice. Family law problems can be overwhelming in the best situations; but they are crushing when someone's closest relationships are in jeopardy, nothing seems fair, and legal advice is unaffordable. Every day I spend at the Family Law clinic is an opportunity to connect with fellow Tucsonans in distress and help find a way through situations that to them seemed impossible. It keeps me in touch with the hardships of so many in our community, and grateful for the privilege of being able to help in some small part.One of the things I most admire about Step Up 2 Justice is that it is about far more than an hour or so of free legal service. The organization’s mission is to provide access to justice. The staff and volunteers alike are focused on helping clients understand what they need to do to help themselves, from start to finish. There is assistance selecting the appropriate (exceptionally clearly written) forms for self-representation, explanation of information needed, guidance on how and where to file, and practical advice about what to expect as a case unfolds. The staff is superb, supporting both clients and volunteers with dedication and unfailing good humor.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Step Up to Justice cares deeply about their clients and their volunteers. They are open and responsive to feedback from their clients and the community to ensure that they are providing services in the best way possible to meet the need. Clients feel heard, respected, and understood when the get services from Step Up to Justice and their volunteer attorneys.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Step Up to Justice is an excellent organization that is only getting bigger and more impactful each year. SU2J has been instrumental in providing more options for civil legal help for low-income Pima County residents and we should all be grateful for their work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Step Up to Justice (SU2J) is a pro bono law center that works to delivery quality civil legal services to individuals and families in need. The orgnaizaiton is lead by a compassionate and committed board of directors who care deeply about access to justice. In a year that saw the world change in ways that we could never have imagined, the boards steady hand, leadership and kindness, allowed SU2J to contine to serve the community in its time of greatest need. Thank you to all involved!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SU2J is an innovative organization with an amazing, hardworking staff. Their impact in the Pima County community continues to grow, assisting thousands of low-income residents each year with civil legal needs. Thank you, SU2J, for helping our community work towards access to justice for all!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer as a family law attorney for step up to justice. I've worked with them since they started and this is a first rate organization. They help people who can't afford lawyers to access the justice system in southern, Arizona. They offer self help, free consultations with lawyer volunteers like myself, classes, and other resources for people who need legal aid type assistance. Highly recommended!

Leslie G.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since 2017, I have been a (non-attorney) volunteer with Step Up to Justice. I am consistently impressed -- not only by their reach and impact in Pima County, but the innovative and efficient legal services model they present to the national justice community. By engaging volunteers to lead self-help group clinics, SU2J has single-handedly increased legal services to low-income individuals and families by over 25% in our community, at a cost that is less than 1/3 of traditional one-on-one models. Moreover, SU2J's outreach and education helps self-represented litigants navigate and prevail in a complicated legal system in family law, housing/eviction, domestic violence, consumer protection, bankruptcy, end-of-life planning, employment and other civil legal matters. SU2J delivers qualified advice, individual representation when needed, and above all, competent advocacy for civil legal justice.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Step Up To Justice is truly a step above. We all had to adjust during these extraordinary times and this amazing organization didn’t skip a beat. Legal services continued uninterrupted and as a volunteer I was allowed to continue assisting clients remotely all the while still receiving outstanding support from the staff. Their professionalism and compassion is a beacon of hope.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Step Up to Justice as a volunteer, a donor, and a member of the Board since it’s inception. As a former judicial officer I’ve been able to see the amazing work and great benefit SU2J has brought to the people of our community as well as how it has improved access to justice and the quality of services from our court system.

The sense of camaraderie developed in the volunteers, the feeling of commitment throughout the organization, and the positive response from SU2J’s clients are proof of the need and the meeting of that need by this incredible group of people.

It is an honor to be associated with SU2J, its dedicated staff, and hard working volunteers.

Dean Christoffel

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Step Up to Justice both as a volunteer lawyer and as a member of the Board. This organization does an exceptional job at filling a very great need for free legal services in our community and the need continues to grow. The commitment of the staff, donors and volunteers is inspiring. I am proud to be involved with this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Step Up to Justice recruits volunteer lawyers willing to provide free legal services to community members in need. I have served as a volunteer attorney with this group for many years. The staff is focused, organized and deeply committed to filling a huge gap in our community. Every person who seeks assistance is treated with kindness and respect and all those who meet financial criteria are given assistance in some form. A legal system that only really works for those who can afford an attorney is a travesty. Step Up helps to level the playing field and provide more equal access to justice.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of knowing about Step Up to Justice before they even had office space. Since they opened their doors at the beginning of 2017, they have worked tirelessly to provide pro bono civil legal services to thousands of Pima County residents. The staff, whom I know personally, are unquestionably devoted to making access to justice a reality for all. They are innovative in how they provide services, experienced but open and flexible, and whole-heartedly committed to each and every client they serve. The work they do is essential to our community. We all benefit. And the amount of good that they have done with limited resources in just 3 1/2 years is astonishing. I cannot wait to see the impact that they will continue to make into the future.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to Step Up to Justice for the last 4 years, and have volunteered actively during the past year. As a donor, I have found them to be responsive, careful stewards, and completely committed to serving their clients. As a volunteer assisting with their philanthropic efforts (I am a retired development professional), I have personally observed a dedicated staff and group of volunteers who consistently go over and above in their efforts, effectiveness, and dedication. I have been involved with numerous non-profits over the years, and this is one of the most effective and efficient I have seen. They do an incredible amount with minimal resources. I commend Step Up to those dedicated to criminal justice.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of volunteering for Step Up to Justice to assist in their data transfer project. Every time I was in the office I would see how hard the staff would work to assist everyone possible. They are truly committed to offering pro-bono legal services for the people who need it most. Their impact is immense and so needed during these tough times. The amount of work that gets churned out by this office is simply unbelievable. What a spectacular group to work with!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first heard of Step up to Justice two years ago. I have referred friends, customers, as well as staff to this organization. The staff of Step up to Justice are always polite and professional. At no cost, they help their clients. They prepare for and, make legal processes simple that would otherwise be insurmountable for their clients.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a clerical volunteer at Step Up To Justice (prior to the pandemic) since it opened its doors. The directors and staff are truly amazing - so hard-working and dedicated to their cause, and willing to expend tremendous sacrifices of time and financial resources of their own. SU2J provides such a truly essential and uniquely important service to those in need of legal assistance in our community. It is my pleasure to be a very small part of their mission.

Linda Huffman (retired legal assistant)

Sam Whitthorne

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the pleasure of volunteering for Step Up to Justice this year, and it's been clear since my first week helping with intakes that there is a very real need for the services provided. The staff interacts with clients - many of whom are in the midst of navigating some of the most difficult times in their lives - with kindness, empathy, and attentiveness, all while providing high-quality services at no cost to the clients.

1 Stephanie M.20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first volunteered as a student intern with Step Up to Justice, I was so inspired by the mission of this organization. As a native Tucsonan, I felt concerned about the members of my community who were denied access to justice solely because of their financial status. Step Up to Justice works to fill that gap, and provides free legal services to underrepresented members of the community. The growth of this organization since its opening has been nothing short of remarkable, but I know that the passionate staff attorneys are hopeful about expanding services through the community's support. Truly an amazing organization!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to be invited to volunteer for this nonprofit in 2018. Since then I have enjoyed working in their family law clinic, helping so many individuals in need of guidance and legal aid. It is amazing to see how our volunteer network of attorneys has developed and increase over the years. The staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide access to legal services for those most in need in the most seamless way. I am also proud that the organization has begun to build such a strong network of donors, sponsors, and contributors that will undoubtedly expand the organization's reach and future opportunities for our community. Love working with them!

Dazey G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have watched the progress of this organization over the past few years and am so impressed by the services provided. They fulfill an important role in our Tucson community... a role that is vital voice to so many in need.

1 ShellySilverman

Donor

Rating: 5

I have watched Step Up to Justice since its very beginnings. The need for free legal services and education is critical to help individuals and families attain civil justice when they can’t afford an attorney to help them gain safe housing, child support, disability benefits, domestic protective order, overcome wrongful job termination, or employment discrimination.  They have always remained focused and very deliberate with their growth and development. From the get-go the mission has been clear and the discipline to grow thoughtfully is incredibly impressive. There is SO MUCH need for their services in our community, and I have chosen to support this organization because I am certain that this has been an excellent investment in directly helping people. I’m extremely impressed with their efforts to create collaborations all over the legal community and I believe my philanthropic dollars are stretched even further because of all the volunteers, as well.  They are now several years old and on very strong and stable footing. They need all kinds of support and I am proud and happy to be a part of the solution by supporting Step Up to Justice.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was honored to be asked to join the Step Up to Justice Board by two of the most tirelessly passionate advocates I’ve ever met. These attorneys continue the vision to reduce costs so more people can receive services. As a board member and also a volunteer at the HOME Clinic, and anywhere else I can help, I say with certainty that the mission of Step Up to Justice is true; and the directors are committed to expanding the reach of free legal services in Pima County. They’re devotion is unparalleled. There is nothing but absolute and genuine concern for others that drives SU2J.

1 Kristy Clairmont

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Step Up To Justice is an amazing community resource. I volunteer and am a board member for this organization and am honored to be a part of their mission. They work tirelessly to assist people who cannot afford an attorney by providing various clinics that enable each person to get the legal advice they need. The organization is staffed by compassionate and experienced people whose true desire is to make a difference one person at a time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer with Step Up To Justice because, when my law partner told me about it, I checked it out and found that it is providing a very important service to those who cannot afford to pay an attorney for help with their legal issues. I also saw that it is helping Courts and other agencies to more easily deal with claims that would otherwise be brought without legal help and be in tghe wrong forum or should not have been brought at all. After I started volunteering several years ago, I saw first hand those who needed help and started donating money and not just my time. It still needs more such donation. I hope you will support it. Thanks, Don Awerkamp