Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University


According to a 2012 American Bar Association study, at least 40 percent of low- and moderate-income households experience a legal problem each year. Yet studies show that the collective legal aid effort is meeting only about 20 percent of the legal needs of low-income people.1 Unlike defendants in criminal cases, low-income parties in most civil proceedings have no right to appointed counsel.2Low-income parties’ legal needs often go unmet when potential litigants are without resources to hire an attorney. The Santa Clara Law Center for Social Justice and Public Service tries to address this justice gap in many ways, but especially by educating students to work with underserved communities and facilitating avenues for students to engage in public service work, thus increasing available representation to marginalized, subordinated, and underrepresented clients and causes. Although the responsibility to help others is universal, the call has a meaning that is inextricably tied to the admonishment in Leviticus 25:35, “uphold him”—we are to help others. Santa Clara School of Law’s commitment to educating lawyers of “conscience, competence, and compassion” highlights Jesuit, Christian values, which are also Jewish values.3