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Wisconsin moves forward on funding civil legal aid

We are pleased to report that on Friday, May 14, the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve an amendment (pdf) to the 2015-17 state budget that allocates $1 million ($500,000 per year) for grants to provide civil legal aid services to low income abuse victims in Wisconsin. Jim Gramling, President of the Access to Justice Commission, had the following to say regarding the committee’s vote: “On behalf

Working harder for Wisconsin veterans

As a part of our ongoing effort to improve the delivery of civil legal services for Wisconsin residents in need, the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission has begun working with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Army OneSource, and our other stakeholders to develop additional legal resources for assisting our veterans. This effort will be led by Commission member Jeff Unger, who also serves as Transition Assistance Advisor with the Wisconsin National

Equal justice award winners

At the 2015 Wisconsin Equal Justice Conference, six awards were announced for outstanding contributions in the areas of civil justice, public interest law and pro bono work. The award winners were announced by the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Legal Assistance Committee and Public Interest Law Section. Formal presentation of the awards will take place during the Member Recognition Celebration at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting & Conference on June 25 in Lake

Provider spotlight: Kids Matter

Kids Matter Inc. was founded in 2000 to help abused and neglected youth in the greater Milwaukee area. It is a small agency with a big mission. Kids Matter is the only legal services agency providing non-GAL civil legal services within the child welfare system and for informal kinship families in Wisconsin. In addition to providing direct legal services for children and families, Kids Matter provides free legal information to

Avoiding compassion fatigue

      Keeping Legal Minds Intact: Mitigating Compassion Fatigue By Linda Albert*, LCSW, CSAC This is an excerpt of an article published in The Wisconsin Defender magazine, Winter/Spring 2009. It is reprinted with permission. What is compassion fatigue? There are several different terms often used to refer to the same phenomenon; to name a few: compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, second hand shock and secondary stress reaction.

Pro bono standard bearers

The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission is pleased to announce the 398 members of the 2014 Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Society. Each of these outstanding lawyers provided at least 50 hours of free or substantially reduced fee pro bono legal services in 2014 to benefit persons of limit means. Their service represents a combined contribution of at least 19,900 hours of pro bono legal help for people in need. This is

Wisconsin equal justice conference recap

The Wisconsin Equal Justice Conference is an education forum for advocates on access to justice issues related to low-income and disadvantaged clients. More than 120 people attended this year’s biennial conference in Milwaukee on March 6, 2015. Sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin Legal Assistance Committee and Public Interest Law Section, as well as the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, the conference offered a variety of presentations on topics of interest

Making your voice heard

Wisconsin is one of only three states that makes no provision in its state budget for funding civil legal aid services to low income residents.Even if you’ve heard this statistic before, it continues to shock. The result is a legal system that struggles to provide equal justice to people who don’t understand the legal processes that could result in them losing access to housing, employment, their children, child support or

Staff lawyer spotlight – Samir Jaber, Disability Rights Wisconsin

By Rita Lord Right after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2012, Samir Jaber went to work with Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW), a private nonprofit organization working to ensure the rights of those with disabilities. Jaber was attracted to a job in the area of social justice because “I was raised in a poor Milwaukee community where people lacked access to services in the justice system. My parents

Volunteer spotlight – Wisconsin lawyers help out in Artesia

By Rita Lord In early 2014, amid a crush of thousands of Central American families caught crossing the border illegally, the federal government expanded the family detention system it had downsized just a few years ago. That set the stage for a remarkable effort to recruit volunteer lawyers from across the United States to travel to remote detention centers and provide legal representation to immigrant adults and children. In 2009,