As Lagniappe Law Lab nears its 3rd full year in operation, I find myself reflecting back on our mission and just how far we’ve come:
Lagniappe Law Lab’s purpose is to narrow the Access to Justice Gap by ensuring the Louisiana civil justice system is operating at its full potential.
Through the use of technology, design thinking, and operations principles, Lagniappe Law Lab aims to put people at the center of the legal process, bringing a more streamlined legal service experience to Louisiana’s underprivileged populations.
Research we led last year with the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission found that over 600,000 Louisianans that most likely qualify for free legal aid live in communities more than 45 minutes away from an in-person civil legal resource. Hundreds of thousands more cannot afford to pay for traditional legal services, but do not qualify for free legal aid.
For these Louisianans, help for everyday legal problems is literally out of reach. That’s where we can help.
So, what legal issues come up in everyday life? People in the justice gap find themselves juggling many types of legal problems like:
- Facing illegal evictions or unsafe living conditions in the homes they rent
- Seeking redress for their employer’s failure to pay them wages they’re owed
- Accessing and complying with public benefits like SNAP, healthcare, and housing programs
- Getting orders of protection in place to protect themselves and their families from an abusive partner
- Filing for simple divorce and establishing child custody so they can move on with their lives with dignity
Guided by our mission and the legal needs of everyday Louisianans, our goals are clear: Inform. Empower. Connect.
The foundation of our work is making legal information more accessible for all. Through LouisianaLawHelp.org, Louisianans can browse hundreds of legal resources that make the law and legal processes more approachable. Through the Louisiana Civil Legal Navigator, a joint project of Lagniappe Law Lab and the Louisiana Bar Foundation, site visitors can get expertly-curated legal information on a growing list of common legal problems.
We also work hard to empower our community with the tools they need to get from A to Z and put their legal issues behind them. Our document automations program helps litigants do things like file for divorce, request a legal name change that reflects their true identity, or remove financial barriers to filing a claim in court through In Forma Pauperis status.
Lastly, we focus on connection – whether that be through making legal referrals or connecting the work of others to reduce duplication of efforts. Through our work with the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission’s Technology Committee, we’ve advanced the adoption of a collaborative, statewide document automation business process and are working stakeholders across the state to make accessible, user-friendly legal forms available to all.
Our wonderful funder (the Louisiana Bar Foundation), long-term partners, and project collaborators provide fiscal and resource support throughout the year. But we’re also hoping you join us as a private donor to enable us to build capacity, start new projects, support existing projects, or gain access to new resources.
Please become a donor today and help us scale access to justice for all.
Founder + Executive Director
Lagniappe Law Lab
Lagniappe Law Lab is a proud grantee of the Louisiana Bar Foundation.