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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

67 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

SM Legal Aid was instrumental in assisting my mother with a Landlord/Tenant issue. They helped her understand her rights and advocate for herself. They are leaders and zealous advocates.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a real estate atty in San Mateo Co. Their staff does a great job in protecting the rights of elderly and low income tenants without infringing on the rights of the many individual landlords with small rental properties in the area.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County is amazing and dedicated to helping so many people in our area. The attorneys and staff of Legal Aid work tirelessly to provide opportunities for those in the community to have access to justice and quality legal services. I know this firsthand, since I worked as volunteer attorney for Legal Aid, and have continued to volunteer over the years.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked for Legal Aid for a little less than one year, but it left a lasting impression on me. Even when I moved to another organization, I have continued to volunteer with Legal Aid. I participate in the Share of Cost clinics and am a volunteer for the annual Golf Tournament. The organization works tirelessly for the residents of San Mateo County. The Share of Cost clinics, which I volunteer for, provide an opportunity to help as many individuals as possible on one afternoon. The clinics bring in individuals who are having problems with their Medi-Cal. Since all of the individuals served at these clinics are elderly, disabled, or both, if they are without Medi-Cal, that can be a death sentence. I have learned that even a small amount of time and assistance from my end can have a dramatic impact on someone's life. The clinics are a very effective vehicle for educating individuals about issues with their Medi-Cal and how to resolve problems on their own, when possible. Legal Aid always assists the individuals fully, and takes many cases per year in an effort to make sure that no one in the county goes without their basic needs (this includes the services provided in the housing clinic and other departments within Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County).

Working as a volunteer for Legal Aid provides an opportunity to give back and make a difference. The organization is filled with lawyers who work for the good of individuals who desperately need assistance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This outstanding organization provides critical, life changing legal services to those who are in real need. Bravo.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LAS of San Mateo County provides critical legal services to the most vulnerable members of our community who otherwise could not afford or access these resources. LAS's exceptional services start with its staff and attorneys, who are caring, committed, and knowledgeable. They constantly go the extra mile without expecting anything in return. Personally and professionally, it is inspirational to see such selflessness and dedication. I can't say enough about the people that make this organization run.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved for several years in helping to support the great work done by the lawyers and staff at LAS; they are among the most caring and dedicated people I have known in the Bay Area working to ensure equal access to top quality legal services to the local community. The breadth of experience, expertise and creativity in solving legal problems is amazing given the relatively small size of the staff and the limited budget they have to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff at Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County is absolutely wonderful. So many people have been helped and lives improved because of the work they do. The ripple effect is amazing.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the luncheon and golf committees of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County for a few years, and every year I become more amazed and in awe of what the attorneys and staff do. They help so many in our community who are disadvantaged in so many ways. And by doing so, they are helping the community at large be a better place to live. The ripple effect is enormous. And it’s done without fanfare and with very little. They are an amazing group of people.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been practicing law in San Mateo for nearly 40 years and I have often been involved with legal aid either directly helping a client, or even on the other side of the case. Legal aid has high quality attorneys and staff and they take reasonable approaches to resolve cases to the benefit of all involved.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about the staff at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. They are kind, caring people with hearts of gold. The services they provide to the members of our community fill a need like no other organization in the area. San Mateo County is truly lucky to have a partner in the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Legal Aid of San Mateo continues to be a beacon in our community, helping many underpriviledged people in our county. Their diligent staff is remarkable in their dedication and
the pro bono attorneys go above and beyond in any way they can. I have served on their fund raising committee for over 20 years and I am continually amazed not only at the support of our legal community but how hard everyone works to make this a successful event so that Legal Aid can continue their work. I am continually proud of them.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It serves such a great service in our community. We have a large number of people from all walks of life in need. Everyone that works there has a great heart for the people they help. I admire them all for their contined caring and devotion to our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In a county replete with enormous individual and corporate wealth, San Mateo County still has a significant population who struggles with housing, domestic violence, hunger and a myriad of other issues. Legal Aid really does an amazing job of harnessing the wealth and resources of the County for good use, leveraging volunteer attorneys for direct services as well as the greater community for outreach and fundraising. No matter what your interest is, Legal Aid somehow finds a way to help people help others in truly meaningful ways. Especially as a pro bono attorney, I find their one-on-one attorney mentoring to be invaluable, as it has emboldened me to take complex cases in practice areas I wouldn't want to handle alone.

Donor

Rating: 4

I am so happy to support Legal Aid’s mission of improving lives through access to the justice system. It's what makes our community a stronger place.

Donor

Rating: 5

•Without the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo county there would be thousands in our community who don’t have equal access to justice. Legal Aid helps to level the playing field and make access to justice a reality for everyone. I am happy to support such a worthy cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Justice matters. My experience as a Legal Aid volunteer has been excellent. It is my privilege to help someone who would not have a voice in our system of justice

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Some of the most rewarding legal work I have done is helping provide equal justice to our lower income clients through Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. Truly a worthwhile use of my lawyer experience.

Kristi Cotton Spence

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is such an amazing organization - one I am very proud to serve. Legal Aid is run by a fantastic team of dedicated attorneys and staff who everyday work to change the lives of clients. The work they do (keeping a person in their home, finding pro bono attorneys to protect a client from further domestic violence) has phenomenal life changing impact. I have served on the Board for seven years and can say without reservation that Legal Aid is a lean organization that stretches every dollar it receives from donors to the maximum for the benefit of clients. Truly a labor of love. -- Mary

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a retired attorney, I am always looking for ways to give back to the members of my community. Legal Aid of San Mateo County offers me those opportunities via their Housing Clinics which operate 3 times a week. This schedule allows me to participate in between other activities, and the supervising attorneys on hand are always helpful and welcoming to volunteers like me. The low-income persons served at Legal Aid's housing clinics are grateful for the legal help received; I come away with a good feeling every time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I and others at my firm volunteer on domestic violence TRO projects through LASMC from time to time. LASMC consistently provides high-quality training materials and a fantastic support network for those who take on these projects. Any interested attorneys, including (attorney-supervised) summer associates, can give back to the community, create a positive impact for individuals who need legal help, and at the same time gain valuable skills and training, thanks to the training and support from LASMC. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who can to get involved with this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The LASMC provides top-notch legal services as well as tireless and efficient support for the attorneys to whom it refers cases. I always enjoy working with the LASMC, and similarly always look forward to receiving a referral from them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with LASMC in both the office and the regular Housing Clinics over the past few years. This is truly a fantastic organization that is in the trenches fighting the good fight. You can really tell that both attorneys and staff here really care about the clients and the work they do in general.

It's truly remarkable how much good each member of this wonderful nonprof can accomplish each day. Simply put, it's a labor of love. Having worked closely with the housing and teen law attorneys and their clients, I can saw from firsthand experience that this organization changes lives for the better every single day.