NC Legal Needs Assessment

In Pursuit of Justice

This study represents the first comprehensive legal needs assessment in nearly two decades for the State of North Carolina. The goals of the Equal Justice Alliance and Equal Access to Justice Commission were to:

  1. Identify legal needs of low-income communities and document current resources and services available to meet those needs.
  2. Understand specifics regarding the gaps in availability of services and what resources are needed to address unmet legal needs.
  3. Identify and quantify where possible the accomplishments of legal services providers since 2000.
  4. Produce a written report that can educate stakeholders about the justice gap in North Carolina.
  5. Provide data and analysis that will be useful to legal aid providers and stakeholder organizations seeking to expand access to civil legal aid.
  6. Gain a more detailed understanding of how race, gender, age, disability and other factors affect the depth and type of civil legal problems people experience.
  7. Identify by geographic, racial, gender and other demographics who gets help and who does not.
  8. Where possible, assess whether those who do get legal help are able to achieve long-term solutions.

Economic and demographic contextual data was obtained from secondary data sources. Data from the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) for civil cases were compiled for the last five years. Finally, data from eight civil legal service providers gave a snapshot of caseloads in 2019. As part of this process, information, perspectives, and insights were also sought from nonprofit advocates, community activists, civil legal providers, magistrates and judges, researchers, pro bono lawyers, and past and potential clients of these organizations. Key informant interviews, focus groups, a client survey, and a legal stakeholder survey were conducted.

A copy of the Executive Summary may be found here: 2021 NC Legal Needs Assessment

 To review a findings in more depth visit the storymap: In Pursuit of Justice: An Assessment of Civil Legal Needs in North Carolina