Advocacy stories

Affirmative advocacy, sometimes called “broad-based advocacy,” is advocacy that is proactive rather than defensive, often intends to benefit a group instead of just one client, and recognizes that even individual cases can have a major impact.

Strategies featured in these stories include not only litigation but also other problem-solving efforts—e.g., media campaigns on behalf of a cause, lobbying efforts to pass innovative legislation, and successful negotiations of settlements. If you have an advocacy story to share, please contact Amanda Moore.


Most recent advocacy story:

School-Based Legal Clinics in Connecticut

by Amy Eppler-Epstein, Alexis Smith, Deborah Witkin, & Anne Louise Blanchard ✯ 

Katie misses a month of high school because her family has been evicted. While her family struggles to find other housing, she is staying on the floors or couches of different friends and relatives each night.

Jorge has been sleepy and lethargic in his second-grade class because he has been going to bed hungry at night. Even though Jorge’s father has been working over 50 hours a week, the father’s employer keeps saying the father will get paid soon. Jorge’s father knows this is wrong, but he is afraid to complain due to his undocumented status.

Sam has not been able to complete his sixth-grade homework or focus on his classes in school. Every day when he gets home from school, he has to assess whether his father is in “one of his moods” and may start hitting Sam’s mother.

Keisha has missed four days of third grade this month because her asthma flared up due to the rodent infestation in her apartment.

Sandra missed her eleventh-grade classes when she had to go to the emergency room. She started having alarming symptoms from her diabetes when her insulin prescription ran out. She is supposed to be covered by the state’s health plan for low-income children, but at the pharmacy she found out that her state insurance had inexplicably been terminated.

Children’s performance in school can be directly affected by problems in their homes or in other parts of their lives. Low-income families regularly face crises relating to fundamental needs such as food, housing, freedom from domestic violence, health, and employment. Family problems such as these can be distracting, traumatic, or even devastating to children. In the face of such troubles, how is a child supposed to succeed in school?... (Read more ➢)

Other recent advocacy stories:

We Won, So Why Are We Still in Court?: Securing Farmworkers’ Right to Workers’ Compensation
by Gail Evans & Elizabeth Wagoner,

Community-Led Code Enforcement: Empowering Communities to Reverse the Tide of Disinvestment
by Robin Jacobs,

A Tale of Two Cases: Using Class Action Litigation to Protect Children’s Home Nursing Services
by Shannon Ackenhausen, Robert H. Farley Jr., & Jane Perkins,

A Fresh Approach to Community Lawyering: A Lawyer in the Library
by Amy L. Petkovsek,

Building Holistic Networks in Legal Aid: Transitioning from Poverty to Self-Reliance
by Nora Salomon,

Using Civil Rights Laws for Environmental Justice Along the Texas Gulf Coast
by Erin Gaines & Kelly Haragan,

Uncharted Waters: The Emergence of Low-Income Water Affordability in Philadelphia
by Robert W. Ballenger & Thu B. Tran,

Delgado Community College, Single Stop USA, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services: One-Stop Problem Solving
by James F. Welch,

Confronting Childhood Trauma to Promote Student Success
by Jennifer Doeren & Stephanie Altman,

“Don’t Ask for Repairs”: A Land Installment Contract Scheme Goes Awry
by Gary A. Benjamin,

Browse more stories
No One Should Be Punished for Calling 911
by Kate Walz & Jenna Prochaska,

A Family Thrives Because of a Medical-Legal Partnership in Cleveland
by Katie Feldman,

Creating a Reasonable-Accommodation Ordinance for People with Disabilities
by Fred Nisen, Dara L. Schur, & Tomasine Cole,

Mental Health Court: Connecting Clients Who Have a Mental Illness to Community Resources
by Christy Dray,

How We Built Legislation to Enhance Law Enforcement Training on Elder Abuse
by Melissa Brown,

Increasing Access to Critical Benefits Through the Rural General Assistance Project
by Lauren Hansen,

Preventing Background Screeners from Reporting Expunged Criminal Cases
by Sharon M. Dietrich,

Domestic Violence and Good-Cause Evictions in Pennsylvania After the 2013 Violence Against Women Act Amendments
by Judy F. Berkman, Rachel Garland, Mark S. Schwartz, Jack F. Stucker, Eva Zelson,

Riding the Victory Train to Environmental Justice in Greater Boston
by Staci Rubin,

Georgia’s Unemployment Benefits for Domestic Violence Survivors Who Quit Their Jobs
by Lindsey Siegel & Kimberly Charles,

Expanding Access to Unemployment Benefits for Survivors of Domestic Violence
by Jennifer Mezey & Drake Hagner,

Medical-Legal Partnership Removes Barriers to Diabetes Care in Kentucky Schools
by Andrea Keith Welker & Kimberly D. Northrip,

Restraint and Isolation Legislation: Protecting Students with Disabilities in Tennessee
by Sherry A. Wilds,

School-Based Clinics: Partnerships to Assist Families and Children
by Brenna K. DeVaney & Claire E. James,

In re T.M. and Expanding Due Process Rights
by Daniel M. Gluck, Holly Berlin, Benjamin Lowenthal, John Pollock, Daniel Pollard, & Gavin Thornton,

Banning the Box in Charlotte
by Jason Eskwith Huber,

Using Family Law to Obtain Immigration Relief for Minors
by Marsha M. Mansfield & Stacy Taeuber,

Applying Section 1983 Claims to Mobile Home Liens in North Dakota’s Economic Boom
by Breezy Schmidt,

The Federal Trade Commission and Legal Services Collaborate to Combat Fraud Against Spanish-Speaking Consumers
by Joannie Wei,

The Long Road to State Endorsement of Medical-Legal Partnerships in New York
by Randye Retkin and Maria Campigotto,

Combating Biased Adjudication in Claims for Social Security Disability Benefits
by Emilia Sicilia,

Grassroots Policy Advocacy and the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
by Hina Shah,

Workers Persevere to Hold Construction Contractors Accountable
by Sally Dworak-Fisher,

Eliminating the Asset Limit for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Illinois
by Dan Lesser,

Ensuring South Carolinians in Community Residential Care Facilities Have a Place to Call Home
by Victoria L. McGahee & Brenda Stalzer,

Challenging Guardianship and Pressing for Supported Decision-Making for Individuals with Disabilities
by Robin Thorner,

Exploring Strategies to Stem the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities
by Amy Walters,

A Lawyer in the Examination Room
by Chay Sengkhounmany and Stephen C. Dorner,

Advancing Low-Wage Worker Organizing Through Legal Representation
by Sameer M. Ashar, Fernando Flores, Sara Feldman,

Students with Learning Disabilities in Chicago
by Daniel Hochbaum,

Justice for Hmong American Farmers in Minnesota
by Susan E. Stokes,

Shaping a Legal Challenge to the Drug-Testing of Welfare Applicants
by Maria Kayanan,

How Legal Aid of Western Missouri Is Helping the Community Recover from the Joplin Tornado
by Jamie Rodriguez,

The Campaign for Pinero Justice
by Tim Freilich and Erin Trodden,

Bet Tzedek’s Conservatorship Clinic
by Philip Bertenthal and Josh Passman,

Clean Water in Eastern Kentucky
by Mary Varson Cromer,

Changing Housing Policies in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania
by Judy F. Berkman, Rachel Garland, Mark S. Schwartz,

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions
by Amy L. Woolard,

Winning Workers' Compensation for Farmworkers
by Gail Evans,

Environmental Justice for All: Struggle in the Baldwin Hills and South Central Los Angeles
by Robert García and Ramya Sivasubramanian,

Organizing for Environmental Justice
by Colin Bailey,

Protecting Resources for Land-Based People: The New Mexico Water-Transfer Conundrum
by David Benavides,

A Seat at the Table: Justice for SNAP Recipients Accused of Fraud in Georgia
by Cole Thaler and Patrick Cates,

Due Process Procedures for Authorizing Medicaid Services
by Douglas Sea,

FEMA Recoupment of Grants from Hurricane Survivors
by Davida Finger,

Ohio Medicaid Case Settled
by Robert A. Cole and W. David Koeninger,

Balancing Tribal Sovereignty and Residents' Rights
by Megan Beaman Carlson, Arturo Rodriguez, and Ilene J. Jacobs,

Family Judges May Not Order Welfare Recipients to Work
by Richard A. Rothschild, Nu Usaha, Robert Capistrano, and Adam Zapala,

Due Process Before Recoupment of Foster Care Payments
by James J. Davis, Jr., Goriune Dudukgian, and Ryan Fortson,

HUD Voucher Regulations Do Not Preempt Local Eviction Controls
by Christian Abasto, James R. Grow, and Erin Liotta,

California Must Comply with Disability Laws
by Elizabeth Zirker, Elissa Gershon, and Kim Swain,

Simultaneous Federal and State Court Actions Halt Health Care Cuts
by Victor Geminiani, Elizabeth M. Dunne, Jennifer Albertson, and Erica Jeung Dickey,

Housing Law Responds to the Needs of Survivors of Violence
by Katherine E. Walz,

Proposal to Cut In-Home Supportive Services to Disabled
by Sujatha Jagadeesh Branch and Melinda Bird,

Legislation to Stem "Sewer Service"
by Carolyn E. Coffey and Johnson M. Tyler,

Past Arrests May Not Be Sole Basis for Rejecting Public Housing Applicants
by Marie Claire Tran-Leung, Katherine Walz, and Richard Wheelock,

HUD's Failure to Preserve Subsidy in Multifamily Foreclosure Illegal
by Kevin Quisenberry,

Litigation Preserves Critical Health Care for Micronesians
by Victor Geminiani and Deja Marie Ostrowski,

Medical-Legal Partnership Helps Suspended Students
by Lucas F. Caldwell-McMillan,

Bringing Katrina Funds to Low-Income Mississippi Residents
by Noah C. Shaw and Joseph D. Rich,

The Campaign to Pass the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act
by Deborah Axt, Amy Carroll, and Andrew Friedman,

Fighting for Environmental Justice
by Helen Kang,

Defeat of Punitive Housing Authority Proposals
by Marie Claire Tran-Leung and Elizabeth Rosenthal,

Odems v. New York City Department of Education
by Bernadette Jentsch,

An Organizing Victory Against Wage Theft
by Alvar Ayala,

Left High and Dry: Water Utility Shutoffs and Tenants in Foreclosed Properties
by Purvi Shah,

The New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign
by Ai Jen-Poo and E. Tammy Kim,

Grassroots Victory over Unfair Evictions
by Dean Preston,

A Model of School-Based Legal Services
by Dennis Kass,

Alternative to Institutional Care Saved
by Elizabeth Zirker,

Student Avoids an Expulsion Hearing
by Andrea DeTellis,

Vermont Low-Income Electric Assistance Program
by Philene Taormina,

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