|The Legal Aid Society of
Santa Clara County (LAS) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1960 to provide free, civil legal services for those
low-income persons unable to obtain access to the judicial system through other avenues. As Silicon
Valleys economy has grown, the unique diversity of the area has made the needs of families in poverty
Our representation ensures that our clients have equal access to the justice system and our outreach and
education programs provide the community members with needed tools to advocate for themselves and to
lead more independent and knowledgeable lives.
|We are recognized for our
unprecedented staff diversity. At our office, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese are all spoken.
Due to the restrictions imposed by Congress on the delivery of legal services and limitations on eligible clients,
the LAS board of directors decided in 1995 not to seek continued funding from our major funding source, the Legal
Services Corporation (LSC). While a difficult decision, it was agreed by the board to be more beneficial to our
client community in order to retain the flexibility to address the emerging critical needs of our client community,
unhampered by the LSC and its regulations. Since that decision LAS has engaged in an aggressive drive to seek
additional funding sources and has allowed us to take on the greater challenges that face our client community.
In 1997 the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors selected LAS to administer a Conflicts Program for the
referral of cases to a panel of experienced private attorneys when conflicts arises in criminal and juvenile matters,
Family Court contempt matters, mental health issues and criminal appeals. We are responsible for monitoring and
administering a $4.3 million dollar annual grant for the defense of indigents charged with crimes in conflict cases.
As a result the County has saved over $1million per year in direct costs for legal defense. These savings have
instead gone to fund other needed social programs. In addition, our legal staff continues to monitor the
implementation of the consent decree in the school desegregation and bilingual education case of Diaz/Vasquez v.
San Jose Unified School District filed by LAS.
LAS is guided in policy and fiscal matters by a 15 member Board of Directors which includes members from the
legal profession, business and client community.