The Concord Monitor painted a vivid picture of the need for legal services in New Hampshire in a feature news story on Friday, August 28 and an editorial on Sunday, August 30:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.11.23 PM
Many attorneys, no matter how long they’ve been practicing law, will tell you they still get butterflies when they enter a courtroom. Just imagine how a single mother seeking protection from an abusive boyfriend would feel under the same circumstances. Now imagine she is alone in the courtroom, without legal representation.

Without access to legal services, nearly 14,000 low-income New Hampshire seniors and families last year “would have been forced to navigate the system alone or simply succumb to more powerful forces. Neither option should be acceptable in a country that prides itself on the notion of equal justice.

The Monitor pointed to the work of the Campaign for Legal Services and the civil legal aid programs at New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice and Referral Center as valuable efforts toward achieving the principle of Equal Access to Justice for All.

The work the groups do often means the difference between housing and homelessness, proper health care and rapid deterioration, safety and danger.

“In the context of domestic violence, the importance of legal representation is dramatically revealed in a statistic included in a report released by the Institute for Policy Integrity last month: ’83 percent of victims represented by an attorney successfully obtained a protective order, as compared to just 32 percent of victims without an attorney.’ The stakes couldn’t be clearer: Legal aid can be a matter of life and death.”

The author also pointed to the measurable impact of legal aid on the New Hampshire economy: “Just one year of legal aid cases has an $84.4 million impact on the New Hampshire economy over a 10-year period, a figure that includes direct benefits to clients, a lower social service burden on local communities and greater spending power among low-income residents.”

In the feature story, two of our passionate and dedicated Campaign Leadership Council volunteers explained why they care so deeply about building support for legal services:

“If you can alleviate one problem or two problems or three problems . . . if you were to hear the stories of these people, it’s very daunting, it’s very humbling,” said Campaign Leadership Council Chairman Emily Gray Rice of Bernstein Shur.

“There is nothing I’ve done that is more satisfying than bringing safety and security to something like this,” said Campaign Leadership Council member and former Chairman Gordon MacDonald of Nixon Peabody.

Thank you for supporting the 2015 Campaign as we seek to raise $350,000 for legal services in New Hampshire this year.

We hope the words of the Concord Monitor and of our Campaign Leadership Council members inspire you as they do us, and remind you of the critical impact legal services have on the lives of our neighbors.