Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Civil Legal Aid, the Great Equalizer

February 2020 Bar Bulletin

By Joanna Boisen and John McKay

Fear, pain, uncertainty. These are just some of the emotions that Mazaa, an Ethiopian immigrant, experienced trying to navigate to safety. Her difficult journey was compounded by a language barrier, inability to effectively navigate a complex legal system, and poverty. Just as soon as she left her husband, he terrified and harassed her, filed numerous baseless court actions and protection orders against her, and manipulated visits with their young son. The confusing legal system was being used against her.

Then, one day, a civil legal aid attorney took Mazaa’s case. Everything changed. Mazaa’s attorney secured a parenting plan. The court ordered...

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