Signed into law in 2009, the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act facilitated the creation of seven pilot projects throughout California. Administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), these seven pilot projects, each in a different area of the state, targeted cases involving critical legal issues that affect basic human needs such as housing, custody, conservatorship, and guardianship, and where lack of attorney representation can result in the loss of key rights. Low-income litigants are, for the most part, unrepresented in these kinds of disputes.
Nearly 80% of family law litigants in Los Angeles County go to court unrepresented by counsel.
Worse, they are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities, as well as the various resources available to them. The pilots targeted cases in which only one side is represented by a lawyer and where having counsel on both sides can serve to protect important rights while also preserving scarce judicial resources.
LevittQuinn has participated in the Los Angeles County family law project since its inception in 2011.
Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ) is the lead agency, and both nonprofits partner with the Los Angeles Superior Court to carry out the project. This program provides free representation in complex, high conflict cases in which one parent is represented and the client requires representation to best protect the interests of the child(ren). Litigant access to the project is via referral only. Project partners accept referrals from the court and other non-profit organizations.