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Poverty Law

Resources for getting started on research related to laws and legal issues impacting the poor.

"We can no longer afford not to guarantee equal justice to the poor in civil cases . . . It is time to match the reality of access to the rhetoric of equality. Justice demands no less."¹

- Professor Clare Pastore

Source: ¹Los Angeles Times, 2009


ABA Division of Legal Services

News items, reports and publications on Legal Aid and the Legal Services Corporation.

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

Papers, articles, news, and briefs on the intersection of poverty and access to justice.

Center for Constitutional Rights

Dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by advocating and informing policy.

Human Rights Watch

A global organization dedicated to protecting vulnerable minorities and other civilians, who are often already living in poverty. Its researchers operate in over 100 countries with the goal of uncovering human rights abuses.

Search center for free legal aid programs.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC)

Private, non-profit corporation established to ensure equal access to justice for all.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

A civil rights organization and law firm based in New York City that seeks changes to expand democracy and eliminate disparities to achieve social and racial justice.


The Rights of the Poor: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Poor People's Rights by Helen Hershkoff & Stephen Loffredo (Southern Illinois University Press, 1997)

This question-and-answer guide outlines federal and state income, medical, housing, and food-assistance programs and explains how the poor can access justice and the political systems. (USC Libraries)


Hidden Agendas: What is Really Behind Attacks on Legal Aid Lawyers? (NYU School of Law, 2001)

This is the seventh installment of the Access to Justice Series.  The book provides a history and overview of legal aid while discussing the impact of restrictions imposed by Congress. (Brennan Center for Justice)

Shriver Center's Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys (Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, 2013)

This practice manual covers all stages of federal litigation - drafting and filing the complaint, trial practice, and seeking relief - and includes links to relevant cited materials. (WorldCat)


Poor Justice: How the Poor Fare in the Courts by Vicki Lens (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Compilation of ethnographic observations, court decisions, and other materials that depict the process and outcome for the poor in courts. (USC Libraries)


Dialogue Magazine

ABA Division for Legal Services magazine that provides relevant information on the delivery of legal services to low and moderate-income people. (ABA)


Legal Aid and Legal Services Resources

A comprehensive guide to legal aid resources by state.

Data & Statistics

Legal Services Corporation (LSC)  

Among the publications available on this site are LSC financial reports and LSC By the Numbers: The Data Underlying Legal Aid Programs, which "provides an overview of the work of LSC-funded legal aid organizations on behalf of low-income people seeking civil legal assistance."