Affordable Legal Services

Affordable Legal Services (ALS)—Addressing Indiana’s Environmental Justice Gap

According to a recent report by the Indiana Bar Foundation, “the ratio of attorneys to Hoosiers living below 125% of the federal poverty level (FPL) is approximately one attorney per 8,850 potential clients. If Hoosiers with incomes between 125% and 200% of FPL are also considered, the ratio increases to approximately one attorney per 16,100 potential clients.1” In comparison, the ratio of private attorneys providing paid civil legal services to the general Indiana population was found to be about one attorney per 688 potential clients.2

Troubling as these numbers are, the availability of legal services for low-income citizens to address pollution burdens is almost non-existent. This leads to a power imbalance where industry interests are fully represented at all levels of government while the public interest is not. HEC’s Affordable Legal Services Program was launched to address this power imbalance – what we call the “environmental justice gap”—by providing low cost legal services on a sliding-scale fee based on a potential client’s ability to pay and other factors as set forth in our Technical & Legal Assistance Policy.

If you are an individual, community group, or non-profit organization in need of legal assistance in an environmental matter, please complete our intake form so we can begin the process of determining your eligibility. You will be contacted following an initial review by our legal program team.

1 Indiana Legal Services, Unequal Access to Justice: A Comprehensive Study of the Civil Legal Needs of the Poor in Indiana, Indiana Bar Foundation, Indiana State Bar Association (2008).

2 Id.