“The IRS came after me for his debt. There was no way I could pay it all, he had taken all the money.”


Other Case Types

The variety of legal problems that come through our door is staggering. From pension denials to unpaid wages to unjust taxes, clients are frequently bringing in new problems to be solved. Almost all other legal aid nonprofits specialize in a few areas of law, which means that novel problems like these usually fall through the cracks and no one, anywhere, is available to help solve them.

Featured Story: Ariane Temple

Ariane discovered that her ex-husband had racked up $74,000 in tax debt after she got a letter from the IRS demanding payment. She had no idea her ex-husband hadn’t been paying taxes on his business and the issue hadn’t been in the divorce settlement. Now, her ex-husband had gone missing and the IRS was coming after her to collect.

Understanding the Issue


It is depressingly common how often employers don’t pay their worker’s the wages they are due, force them into uncompensated overtime, or refuse to let them take breaks. To minimize liability, employers often play a corporate shell game, making it extremely difficult  for employees to get their wages even after a judgment.


Immigration, tax, and public benefits are all dealt with in a variety of administrative courts – sometimes making it tough to even know which forum is proper to present a specific grievance. The procedure and rules of evidence are dramatically different from typical civil court, and the substantive rights a buried in hundreds of pages of regulation. The regulations for federally subsidized housing rules alone comprise over a thousand pages. Given these difficulties, its almost impossible for poor households to know either what their rights are or where they can go for satisfaction, without legal help.

Clean Slate

After successfully completing probation, many people are eligible for clean slate programs, including expungement, prop 47 petitions, and certificates of rehabilitation. Obtaining these can dramatically improve an individual’s chance to get a job, get housing, or qualify for public benefits – helping speed their reintegration into society.