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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: 2222 cases opened from 7/1/2017-6/30/2018

Geographic areas served: San Mateo County

Programs: legal advice, representation and education

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

As an attorney in San Mateo County, it has been my honor andpleasure to serve the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. There are many members of our community who are in great need of legal assistance. The Legal Aid Society steps in to provide that representation when there is no one else. If our society is to survive and thrive, individuals accross the economic specturm must be able to access the institutions and processes that provide for peaceful resolution of disputes and for fair and orderly recognition of rights and duties. The Legal Aid Society is there to ensure the syetem is accessible to those individuals who would otherwise go without guidance and/or representation.

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering in the Share of Cost clinic organized regularly by the Legal Aid Society for years. It is a very well organized program, with good training and training refreshers at the beginning of every clinic, and there are always attorneys around to help with questions you have as they come up. I would definitely encourage others to work with this great nonprofit organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered several times over the past few years at the Share of Costs" clinic to help clients who have lost their medical coverage obtain coverage. Athough the training was excellent and I have practiced law for over twenty years, it was a very humbling expreience to work with clients in an area of law that was unfamiliar to me.The supervising attorney, Trish, was amazing. She always seemed poised and unflappable, despite having multiple volunteer attorneys all trying to get her attention at once to ask for help. When she comes to your table to provide help, she very quickly helps you clarify the issue and guide you to formulating advice to provide the client in a manner that well serves the client's needs and doesn't make you feel like you don't know what you are doing. After each volunteer session I felt that in some very small way I was helping people in dire need of assistance.

Patrick P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My law firm and I have worked directly with Legal Aid of Society of San Mateo County for many years. The staff attorneys are excellent, not only are they very knowledgeable but they mentor and assist the volunteer attorneys. My volunteer experience has been very rewarding and would strongly encourage other legal professionals in the area to work witih this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Legal Aid for a few weeks now and can tell you it is rewarding. Legal Aid's lawyers and staff are super knowledgeable and their level of care for their clients is unparalleled. There are so many people in San Mateo County that are in such dire need of even basic legal counsel let alone help with evictions and other court related matters. It is a wonderful feeling to know these people can find solace and advice from such a fabulous organization that is aimed at providing and filling a need in our community. I am proud and honored to be a part of Legal Aid.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This is a great organization, not only to work with but also in providing a valuable service to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo provides essential services to the community. Their attorneys have incredible expertise in their field and passion for their work. I have worked alongside them in the monthly Share of Costs clinic helping low income seniors and people with disabilities obtain the critical health services they need.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County provides essential direct legal services and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and low income children, families and seniors in the County. I have worked with the organization for several years and have seen first hand the hard work and dedication of its incredibly talented staff and volunteers.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Legal Aid of San Mateo County provides an invaluable service to members of our community. I have worked with Legal Aid in many capacities, most notably along side of them in the San Mateo Bar Association Legal Clinic, which provides free legal services to residents of various homeless shelters in San Mateo County. Legal Aid's staff is warm, welcoming and dedicated to providing these individuals with the legal services that aid them in helping break the cycle of homelessness.

Donor

Rating: 4

A friend who ended up in a homeless shelter for a variety of financial, physical and personal issues. This person was disabled and could not work. He had applied for early social security and denied 3 times.
It was only when Legal Aid of San Mateo County visited the homeless shelter and provided assistance to appeal the Social Security decision. This assistance including counseling and referring an attorney.
This friend did win the appeal, was able to leave the homeless shelter and move into his own place.
This person is in a safe home, receiving Medicare for his disability and in a much better place.

Thanks a bunch! Thank you Legal Aid for the great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Among its programs, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo hosts a monthly "Share the Costs" clinic for poverty-level residents having difficulty negotiating the complexity of federal and state medical expense suport programs. Attorneys at this clinic regularly resolve major life crises for people who are suffering significant medical problems and simultaneous encountering crushing expenses for their care. And, for those with problems too complex to be resolved in a law clinic setting, the Society's in-house counsel provides the necessary continuing legal representation so they find themselves supported during these difficult life periods.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an attorney who volunteers for Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, I have come to appreciate the quality with which this organization provides legal services to needy residents of San Mateo County. In the several months I have volunteered there, I have met many caring staff members helping the public in so many ways, and who are always willing to help volunteers like me as questions arise.
I have seen how Legal Aid's new office space in Redwood Shores provides a professional facility that sets needy persons at ease and gives them confidence, starting with dedicated off-street parking, a comfortable waiting area with amenities for children, and private offices that allow confidential consultation with Legal Aid attorneys and staff.
I have also enjoyed volunteering at the clinics run by Legal Aid to provide services in the community for the benefit of low-income tenants facing eviction.
In every way, my volunteer work has been so fulfilling because, with the support of the dedicated staff at Legal Aid, I have been able to help so many people so well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LSAMC serves a widely diverse community and serves many more than their staff should allow. They serve children to elder on issues. housing to DV. They set up matters in a way that makes the pro bono volunteer's work easy to start and are always there with a helping hand to keep things moving. Their training programs and staff are top notch. They are a great blessing to the penninsula region and their impact is felt far beyond the region by their coordination with other agencies statewide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo has a wonderful domestic violence restraining order clinic. This program is able to provide great training to pro bono attorneys and to quickly match them up with clients who need their services in navigating the legal system. At a recent hearing in San Mateo Superior Court, I met four other attorneys representing clients in obtaining restraining orders that morning. These attorneys were from both large and small firms, which shows that the clinic has a rich network. I look forward to working with this organization in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For many years now, I have been consistently WOWED by the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. It offers such a diverse array of critical services -- FOR FREE -- to needy families in the community. It has been quite an honor to be able to volunteer with this great organization on occasion. Janet Seldon, the E.D., is particularly fantastic -- knowledgeable, smart, and caring.