Western Addition Ribbon Cutting

Opened during the pandemic, our newest office has already begun 122 cases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2021
Open Door Legal celebrates its newest office in Western Addition

With over 2,600 cases since its beginning in 2013, Open Door Legal has continuously addressed poverty by providing access to the law. An award-winning nonprofit, Open Door Legal began with an office in Bayview/HuntersPoint, and has opened offices in Excelsior and a now permanent office in Western Addition. This third office opened during the pandemic, and is being commemorated outdoors on Monday, August 23rd at 5 PM at 1113 Fillmore St. 

“People can walk here,” said Hakika Drisker, the Frontline Partner of the new office. “We are in the community, we are accessible.”

In the half year it’s been open, the Western Addition office has opened 122 cases. Representing clients in over 34 different areas of law including housing, family, immigration and employment, Open Door Legal’s team is pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to legal help–which they are working to expand across San Francisco and replicate in other cities. 

“The soul of San Francisco is its long-term residents,” said Adrian Tirtanadi, co-founder and Executive Director of Open Door Legal. “Western Addition is a historically Black neighborhood that’s fought immense gentrification. It has the second-highest density of public housing in the city. We want residents of Western Addition to know that we are here to help with their legal needs, so that they can continue to live and thrive in their long-time community.”

District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, Western Addition clients, and staff from Open Door Legal will be saying a few words at the ribbon-cutting. 

“When something happens to you, you want to fight for your rights,” said Hakika. “And now you have legal services to help you fight.”

 

For more information: opendoorlegal.org

Requests for comment may be directed to jess@opendoorlegal.org

Hakika Drisker, Western Addition Frontline Partner, holding the door open to our newest office.

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

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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!