The Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado is the fundraising arm of Colorado Legal Services (CLS). With few exceptions, CLS clients are living at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline, which means an annual income ceiling of $14,363 for an individual and $29,438 for a family of four.
CLS has 14 offices across the state, and only 47 lawyers on staff. There are 880,000 people statewide that are income-eligible for legal aid, which means that there is one legal aid lawyer for every 18,723 poor Coloradans. By comparison, there are 410 public defenders in the state, or one for every 2,146 poor Coloradans, and one lawyer for every 251 Coloradans generally.
CLS has less than half the staff it did 30 years ago, and over three times as many clients. Even before the current round of funding losses, CLS was unable to meet the need for legal services among the poor because of inadequate resources. For every client served, at least one income-eligible client is unfortunately turned away.
In 2012, 72 percent of CLS clients were female and 16 percent were seniors.
Areas of Service in 2012
- 42 percent – Family Law & Domestic Violence
- 22 percent – Consumer & Finance
- 20 percent – Housing
- 8 percent – Income Maintenance
- 8 percent – Employment, Health & Individual Rights