Now entering its 15th year (2020-2021), the award-winning California JusticeCorps program recruits, trains and places over 270 undergraduates and recent graduates in court-based self-help centers. The ability of individuals facing family, housing, financial and personal safety crises to access the legal system and understand and safeguard their rights is vital to achieving economic self-sufficiency and promoting community stability. To help improve access to justice and ensure fair outcomes for all, California has committed to doing more to help people who need to resolve important civil legal issues but don’t have professional representation.
California Rule of Court 10.960 provides that court-based self help centers are a core function. Self-help centers serve as a single point of access for court users navigating the court system on their own. The JusticeCorps members serving in these centers provide legal information, not advice-- they help people help themselves. Funded by the California Judicial Branch and an AmeriCorps grant, JusticeCorps was first launched as a pilot program in Los Angeles County in 2004, expanded to the Bay Area in fall 2006, and then to San Diego in fall 2007.
Minimum-time members commit to 300 hours during an academic year in self-help centers. In return, they receive approximately 40 hours of training as well as an education award when they complete the program. The program also offers full-time service opportunities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and San Diego. Full-time members serve 1,700 hours and receive a $27,000 living allowance throughout their one-year term of service.