Community Legal Services

Advocate.Litigate.Educate.

Phoenix, AZ   |  www.clsaz.org

Mission

Community Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm committed to increasing fairness in the civil justice system by advocating, litigating and education on behalf of Arizona’s most underserved communities.

Ruling year info

1954

Executive Director

Ms Lillian Johnson

Main address

305 S 2nd Ave

Phoenix, AZ 85003 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0166615

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Community Legal Services desires to be Arizona’s leading legal voice for communities in need by protecting rights, increasing fairness and providing access to justice for underserved communities. Unresolved legal problems can impact the basic survival needs of individuals & families/households which may include the need for personal safety & a life free of domestic violence & abuse; the need for a safe, habitable & healthy home; the need to protect those with limited income against fraudulent consumer practices or scams; the need for health care; the right of a child with a disability to a public school education, & equal access to the justice system for all persons, regardless of income. Legal services can include legal advice, assistance, advocacy & direct representation in courts of law. CLS’ Social Return on Investment Analysis (2017) shows that for every $1 invested in CLS, $6.19 or 619% was the return on investment in immediate short-term benefits & important long-term results.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legal Services

CLS provides civil legal services to low income clients in areas including: family law, housing law, employment law, consumer law as well as health and economic services

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Migrant workers

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Community Legal Services desires to be Arizona’s leading legal voice for communities in need by protecting rights, increasing fairness and providing access to justice for underserved communities.

As a non-profit law firm that has worked for decades to increase fairness in the civil justice system on behalf of Arizona’s most underserved communities, Community Legal Services works to assist Arizonans every single day who struggle to maintain their housing, jobs, health, and safety.  However, implicit and explicit racism are barriers for our communities of color to accessing and preserving these critical basic needs. Fighting to undo racism and its deep-rooted effects is everyone’s responsibility.  It requires action – small and large.
 
We ask that you listen to people of color when they speak about their experiences – how explicit and implicit racism impact their lives and, as we continue to witness, also results in death, begin difficult conversations about race and work to remove barriers caused by racism, so that all Arizonans, regardless of economics or race, have safety and access to affordable decent housing, employment, and, healthcare.

For the past 69 years, Community Legal Services has provided civil legal services to low-income residents of our five-county service area in Arizona.

CLS also receives support, via statewide Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Programs, Federal Victims of Crime Act, and Bank of America settlement funding, for its programs, which provide specific services to victims of domestic violence or housing legal problems.
Community Legal Services attorneys are licensed to practice law in Arizona and paralegals work under the direct supervision of an attorney.

CLS' Director of Litigation and Advocacy who supervises the legal work of the firm has practiced law for more than 20 years at CLS. All CLS attorneys are provided with professional development opportunities and all maintain their CLE (continuing legal education) credits as required by the State Bar of Arizona. Many of CLS attorneys are Senior or Lead attorneys at the firm, which entails developing special programs and mentoring less experienced attorneys or new staff attorneys in the practice areas of the firm.

From 2014-2019, CLS total programs served more than 70,000 individuals across the five-county service area.

For the past 69 years, Community Legal Services has provided civil legal services to low-income residents of our five-county service area in Arizona.

CLS also receives support, via statewide Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Programs, Federal Victims of Crime Act, and Bank of America settlement funding, for its programs, which provide specific services to victims of domestic violence or housing legal problems.
Community Legal Services attorneys are licensed to practice law in Arizona and paralegals work under the direct supervision of an attorney.

CLS' Director of Litigation and Advocacy who supervises the legal work of the firm has practiced law for more than 20 years at CLS. All CLS attorneys are provided with professional development opportunities and all maintain their CLE (continuing legal education) credits as required by the State Bar of Arizona. Many of CLS attorneys are Senior or Lead attorneys at the firm, which entails developing special programs and mentoring less experienced attorneys or new staff attorneys in the practice areas of the firm.

From 2014-2019, CLS total programs served more than 70,000 individuals across the five-county service area.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Low income Arizona residents facing civil legal issues.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Previously, CLS only utilized paper (mailed) feedback surveys. We recently have begun researching and implementing electronic survey methods for clients and the community.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Community Legal Services
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Community Legal Services

Board of directors
as of 12/7/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Jennifer Holsman Tetreault

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/07/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/07/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.