Expanding Access to Justice with Social Impact Financing

Low-income Americans typically receive minimal legal services that often lead to costly outcomes such as preventable emergency department visits, homelessness, or overwhelming consumer debt. In 2019, Pay for Success (PFS) had been applied to several issue areas but not access to justice. Social Finance engaged in a study to explore whether outcomes-based social impact financing mechanisms, or PFS, could support scaling effective legal aid programs. The findings indicated that PFS can be applied to civil legal aid to produce better outcomes related to legal assistance, self-help and community legal education, and policies to address systemic issues.

 “There is an access to justice crisis in the United States, largely driven by an under-resourced civil legal aid services sector. Pay for Success strategies could be a part of the solution in generating additional public and private resources to scale effective legal organizations.”

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