Shirley’s Story

Shirley’s Story Shirley Is Determined To Help Her Grandson Thrive Shirley took Anthony into her home at just six months old. 12 years later, Anthony’s talents began to attract the attention of everyone – from athletic recruiters to his unstable mother....

Veronica’s Story

Veronica’s* Story Veronica is a mother and a survivor. Veronica is a brave woman. Veronica* thought everything would get better when she saw the police take her husband away in handcuffs. She had endured over five years of abuse at his hands, including twice...

Rory

  Rory’s Story Her daughter’s father threatened to file for full custody   Hailey, Rory’s seven year-old daughter, has only met her father a handful of times, not because her mother forbade her to, but because he was not present. Rory and Justin...

Karina

Karina’s Story Karina* needed help to protect her daughter Karina always wanted a family to call her own but didn’t opt to do things the traditional way–she fell in love, had a daughter, but never got to wear the ring. Like every couple, Karina and Julio...

Monica

Monica is a 30 year old mother of a beautiful five year old girl. Her dream is to go back to school, get a college degree, and find work as a social worker for Child Protective Services. She’s always had a soft spot for troubled youth and wanted to make sure...

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.