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Cassaundra

Cassaundra

My landlord gave me a 30-day notice, saying he was going to move in. He harassed me and made my life miserable. He left me without heating for months. He let me live with dead rodents and refused to patch a hole in the roof. I went to the Mayor’s office for help, and they referred me to an org who said they couldn’t help me. But walking down Third Street, I saw the sign for Open Door Legal and decided to come in.

Becky

Becky

One of my first cases was against a major insurance company who was accusing our clients of fraud. I’ve never seen someone treated as bad as our clients were. The way the adverse counsel acted … I thought it was reserved for documentaries from 50 years ago. This is supposed to be San Francisco in 2017!

Tasha

Tasha

Tasha An Employment Law Client I wouldn’t be here today without Open Door Legal. They listened, validated how I felt. They were honest with me. They helped me get therapy and put on the road to get better. Nobody else I talked to would listen to me, or even validate...

Kimberly

Kimberly

Kimberly Litigation Fellow I learned more in those three months than I did in the rest of law school combined. The hands-on experience made me realize how much I enjoyed legal aid. I wanted to keep doing it. It just felt right. I like how we do all the things. "I grew...

Philip

Philip

Philip Consumer Attorney I found Open Door Legal’s website and was stunned. When I got hired, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like my first great chance to follow my dreams. At first, it was so challenging, like being back in law school, every day a new issue to explore....

LaChelle

LaChelle

LaChelle A Housing Law Client I found Open Door Legal and we were able to get additional evidence and a new hearing. Even then, they tried to dispute. They became focused on proving me wrong, not on fixing the problem. It was insulting. You know, sometimes...

Alex

Alex

Alex A Housing Law Fellow The people [at Open Door Legal] are wonderful and committed. It feels like it’s becoming an integrated part of the community in a way that’s only been previously dreamed of. The accomplishments are remarkable. "I’ve had a lot of...

Chelena

Chelena

Chelena A Family Law Client It was tough always having to find childcare to go to court. All the hearings forced me to constantly change my work schedule and ask for time off: that lost me a few jobs. I tried paying for an attorney but it was pointless,...

Cynthia

Cynthia

Cynthia A Staff Paralegal One case I worked on involved an elderly woman being defrauded from her home. I knew there were bad actors in the real estate space, but I didn’t realize how sophisticated the scams were. It’s an issue that will affect the seniors...

Joe

Joe

Joe A Housing Law Client There’s no way I could have paid the new rent. It’s more than my disability check. There’s nowhere else I could have gone. I’ve lived in San Francisco since I was 3 years old. You look for places and they aren’t there no more ... I'd be...

Come to Our 2017 Gala!

Come to Our 2017 Gala!

Join Open Door Legal in celebrating five years of community service. Thanks to supporters like you, we’ve offered pioneered universal access to legal representation, starting in the southeast corner of San Francisco. Committed to the belief that everyone deserves...

CITATIONS

1. American University, Key Studies and Data About How Legal Aid Improves Housing Outcomes https://www.american.edu/spa/jpo/toolkit/upload/housing-7-30-19.pdf

2. George Washington Law School, In Pursuit of Justice? Case Outcomes and the Delivery of Unbundled Legal Services https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi

Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.

Please make checks payable to Open Door Legal and mail them to:

Open Door Legal

60 Ocean Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94112

We also accept donations via:

Cryptocurrency

Donor-Advised Fund

Stock

You can view all of the ways to give at https://opendoorlegal.org/donation-information

Please contact laurat@opendoorlegal.org if you have any questions or need any additional information.  Thank you so much for the support!