Securing Justice Empowering Futures

2020 Impact Report

Dear Friends,

It is challenging to reflect on the year and remember a pre-COVID world. I joined LACLJ in September 2019 and enthusiastically set priorities for the year. As a Latina and daughter of immigrants, I felt honored for the opportunity to serve the community in which I grew up. My priority was understanding the heart and soul of LACLJ and connecting with stakeholders, Board members, community, and staff. I had the opportunity to accompany clients to court and saw our team in action with our pro bono partners’ support. It was evident that the need for the services provided by LACLJ vastly outweighed our capacity and that our staff needed more support and resources to address the need. I focused on streamlining processes and analyzing costs to determine the best course of action. Six months later, we found ourselves shifting, reprioritizing, and facing even more challenges than ever.

Norayma Cabot,
Executive Director

COVID-19 Response Fund

Our community of supporters responded with incredible generosity.

In March, LACLJ quickly responded to the changing needs of survivors as a result of the global pandemic. Our office moved from providing services in-person to working remotely, changing our intake processes and staying abreast of the various changes courts were implementing as they took their own precautionary measures. While courts stopped hearing many cases, domestic violence cases continued to proceed and our team continued to represent survivors in need.

Program Highlights

Equal access to support

Immigrant Survivors

For nearly a decade, LACLJ has provided immigration services for undocumented survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. 

Cultural Responsiveness

In 2018 as part of our three-year strategic plan, LACLJ prioritized efforts to strengthen our service model by further integrating culturally responsive strategies and practices.

SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS

Our sexual assault survivors’ legal team specializes in the areas of criminal justice advocacy, Title IX, immigration, and family law support.

Client Demographics

Survivors served:

0

Matters opened:

0
17% male
17% male
83% female
4% US Citizen Naturalized
20% US Citizen
76% undocumented
20% US Citizen
4% US Citizen Naturalized
35% domestic violence and sexual abuse
58% domestic violence
58% domestic violence
35% domestic violence and sexual abuse
7% sexual abuse

69%

have minor child

29%

live in unstable housing
(something other than renting/stable or own home)

91%

of clients say their life improved because of LACLJ services:

83%

report less fear

87%

report more confidence

85%

report feeling more hopeful

84%

report a better relationship with their kids

We ensure survivors have


the tools to create their own future.

Many clients expressed more than one goal once their case closed with LACLJ:
74%
work
63%
education
40%
kids
20%
mental health

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Financials

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LACLJ canceled its annual gala which was scheduled for May 2020. Attendees and sponsors of this special event typically help us raise over $300,000 to fund programs and services. As a result, LACLJ’s special events revenue for FY19-20 did not meet budgeted expectations and resulted in an overall deficit for the year. This year has been challenging, but we are proud to have continued providing high quality services during this time and relying on our reserves to cover expenses.

Revenue and Support:

$ 0
Donated Professional Services: $3,705,769
Government Grants: $2,772,689
Contributions
and grants:
$420,452
Special events:
$3,611
Other:
$177,220

Expenses:

$ 0
Program Services: $6,552,316
Management and General: $428,614
Fundraising:
$204,192

Xochitl
in her own words

Almost losing my child was one of the scariest moments in my life. I had been successfully co- parenting with my daughter’s dad for over ten years, so I was shocked that one day he filed a petition to request full legal and physical custody of my daughter. I couldn’t lose her. I couldn’t break up our family.

I tried to seek legal advice, but I didn’t have the money to pay a private attorney. I went to other nonprofits asking for help and everyone denied me. Either I was ineligible or my court date was too soon, so they couldn’t help. I also tried to go through court self-help, but it was very confusing. I had to take time off work and wait in these long lines to get the information I needed. It was a very stressful process and I didn’t even know if I was doing it right. I was scared thinking I may lose my daughter. I came across LACLJ and they immediately gave me an appointment. Even just giving me that one appointment made a really big impact. They listened to me and gave me hope. I was so relieved when they took my case.

Since my court hearing was coming up soon, they worked quickly to gather all the information they needed for my case. Seeing them hard at work, I knew I couldn’t have done all that by myself. LACLJ did everything in their power to help. My daughter had been sexually assaulted by one of her dad’s family members. She had already been through so much. I didn’t want her to be removed from her home and her siblings. We were a family.

When the judge ordered to maintain my custody rights, I felt so relieved. I still get emotional thinking about it now. It meant so much to my family. When I went back home to hug her that day, I held her tightly knowing how close I was to losing her. Going to court is a scary process, especially if you are not educated or if there is a language barrier. It’s hard to even describe what it means to have someone, an agency like LACLJ, support you and help you keep your family together. It changed our lives.

I am so grateful for your donation and for choosing to support this cause. Thanks to you, I was able to get legal representation in court. Thanks to you, I am looking at my daughter right now painting with her siblings. My family has not been separated. We’re complete. We’re together.

Insight

Carmen McDonald,
Director of Legal Services

what makes a
real difference for survivors
in our community?

Pro Bono Spotlight

We were
able to help
move their
lives forward.

Amira Samuel,
LACLJ Pro Bono Manager

Thank You

Support

  • Pro Bono Support
  • Additional Support
  • Board, Leadership & Staff

Eric Pettit, Boies Schiller Flexner
Arwen Johnson, Boies Schiller Flexner
Julia Bredrup, Boies Schiller Flexner
James Unger, Boies Schiller Flexner
Gerloni Cotton, Boies Schiller Flexner
Kevin Borysiak, Boies Schiller Flexner
Megan Abner, Boies Schiller Flexner
Christina Nuno, Boies Schiller Flexner
Eric Kennedy, Buchalter
Ashley Milnes, Buchalter
Michael J. Holecek, Gibson Dunn
Theane Evangelis, Gibson Dunn
Lori C. Arakaki, Gibson Dunn
Andrew M. Kasabian, Gibson Dunn
Jeremy S. Smith, Gibson Dunn
Erin E. Kurinsky, Gibson Dunn
Jennifer Jiyun Rho, Gibson Dunn
Katarzyna Ryzewska, Gibson Dunn
Charles Stevens, Gibson Dunn
Lauren Fischer, Gibson Dunn
Caeli A. Higney, Gibson Dunn
Michael H. Dore, Gibson Dunn
Andrew W. Hazlett, Gibson Dunn
Courtney M. Johnson. Gibson Dunn
Alisha S. Mahalingam, Gibson Dunn
Daniel Weiner, Gibson Dunn
Jillian Nicole London, Gibson Dunn
Milagros R. Villalobos Navas
Michael G. Farag, Gibson Dunn
Sameera Ripley, Gibson Dunn
Brooke Myers Wallace, Gibson Dunn
Marcellus A. McRae, Gibson Dunn
Isabella R. Sayyah, Gibson Dunn
Katherine H. Sharp, Gibson Dunn
Carla H. Jones, Gibson Dunn
Katherine Michelle Marquart, Gibson Dunn
Rodney J. Stone, Gibson Dunn
Maya J. Hoard, Gibson Dunn
Eric D. Vandevelde. Gibson Dunn
Jason C. Lo, Gibson Dunn
Virginia L. Smith, Gibson Dunn
Ilissa S. Samplin, Gibson Dunn
Sean K. Tierney, Gibson Dunn
Thad A. Davis, Gibson Dunn
Meera S. Bhaskar, Gibson Dunn
Christopher Chorba, Gibson Dunn
Samuel M. King, Gibson Dunn
Emily R. Sauer, Gibson Dunn
Lizeth Guzman De Meza,
Hueston Hennigan
Carla Garcia Acevedo,
Hueston Hennigan
Angie Sanchez, Hueston Hennigan
Bryan Argueta-Granados,
Hueston Hennigan
Antonia Carranza-Moreno,
Hueston Hennigan
Wilfredo Argueta-Granados,
Hueston Hennigan
Berenice Oseguera Perez,
Hueston Hennigan
Brian Sun, Jones Day
Mina Saffarian, Jones Day
Evan McGinley, Jones Day
Brian Hershman, Jones Day
David Horowitz, Kirkland & Ellis
William Smith, Kirkland & Ellis
Vanjo Lickhalter, Kirkland & Ellis
Michael Tecuanhuehue, Kirkland & Ellis
Stacy Kwon, Kirkland & Ellis
Hunter Norton, Kirkland & Ellis
Kathleen McGivney, Kirkland & Ellis
Aura Gilham, Kirkland & Ellis
Sharre Lotfollahi, Kirkland & Ellis
Michael Baumann, Kirkland & Ellis
Nathaniel Haas, Kirkland & Ellis
Yosef Mahmood, Kirkland & Ellis
Argie Mina, Kirkland & Ellis
Gavin Moler, Kirkland & Ellis
Austin Norris, Kirkland & Ellis
Benjamin Yaghoubian, Kirkland & Ellis
Laura Bay, Kirkland & Ellis
La Tonya Fountain, Kirkland & Ellis
Colin Bosch, Kirkland & Ellis
Christopher Lawless, Kirkland & Ellis
Kayla Ruben, Kirkland & Ellis
Rob Liubicic, Milbank Tweed
Emile Ayoub, Milbank Tweed
Ben Nicholson, Milbank Tweed
Jacqueline Rosen, Milbank Tweed
Ayana Sumiyasu, Milbank Tweed
Jaycee Parker, Milbank Tweed
Nancy Thomas, Morrison Foerster
Huilin Wang Cornell, Morrison Foerster
Phillip Kim, Morrison Foerster
Sherry William, Morrison Foerster
Justin Sorensen, Morrison Foerster
Alison Frost, Morrison Foerster
Ryan Stasell, Sidley Austin
James M. Perez, Sidley Austin
Douglas Axel, Sidley Austin
Dale A Jachlewski, Sidley Austin
Sean A. Commons, Sidley Austin
Eva M.Huber, Sidley Austin
Rahul Hari, Wilkinson Stekloff
Roxana Guidero, Wilkinson Stekloff
Rebecca Chong, Wilkinson Stekloff
Jeremy Barber, Wilkinson Stekloff
Eric Pettit, King & Spalding
James Unger, King & Spalding
Kyle Schulke, King & Spalding
Stephen Kelly, Cypress
Robert Stanley,
Rosenfeld, Meyer and Susman
Bill Heath
Martin Kohan

Law Students
Alexandra Fuxa
Chinelo Iken
Erica Navarro
Fernanda DaSilva
Jesse Wong
Leila Gordon
Maral Tavitian
Michael Park

Community Care Advocates
Amy Pedroza
Araceli Arriaga
Bianca Gamboa
Brenda Orozco
Cady Perez
Celia Gonzalez
Danushe Cruz
Elizabeth Salazar
Estefania Alvarez Melo
Fernanda Sanchez Jara
Gabriela Vargas
Gabriella Chavez
Gabriella Martinez
Jacklyn Saucedo
Jennifer Eicholtz
Jessenia Garcia
Karen May
Karlee Manuel
Leovardo Ramirez
Marlin Quintero
Nancy Jimenez
Nathalie Guzman
Oscar Castaneda
Rebecca Ruiz
Stephanie Jimenez

Foundations and Corporate Support
ACFLS Charitable Foundation Inc.
Alston & Bird LLP
AmazonSmile
Baker Marquart LLP
Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim,
Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP
Cypress LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine
Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Haynes and Boone, LLP
Hueston Hennigan LLP
Irell & Manella LLP
it’s over easy
Jones Day
Kibler Fowler & Cave LLP
Lionsgate
Milbank LLP
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Pacific Western Bank
Sidney Stern Memorial Trust
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
and Affiliates
The Capital Group Companies Charitable
Foundation
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
The Wasserman Foundation
Venable LLP
Weingart Foundation

FY 19-20 Board
Kimberly Posin, President
Randall Jackson, Vice President
Jennifer Ziegler, Treasurer
Philip Sanchez, Secretary

Alanna Frisby Hernandez
Alyssa Clover
Andrew Walsh
Ariel Neuman
Brian Hershman
Brian Klein
Clarissa Park
Collin Wedel
Cristyn Chadwick
Dawn Sestito
Debora Perez
Elliot Harvey Schatmeier
Eric Matolo
Eric Vandevelde
Evan Itzkowitz
Holly Hayes
Jaime Guerrero
Jennifer Brockett
Jennifer Elkayam
Jodi Lopez
Karen Lorang
Lizette Martinez
Matt Cave
Melanie Mandles
Nelson Lee
Robert Stanley
Sarah Johnston

FY 19-20 Leadership Council
Alex Menenberg
Alex Osterlind
Amalia Goldvaser
Anne McKenzie Brendel
Bill Briggs
Brett Manisco
Camille Perry
Christina Aryafar
David Garcia
Erin Chance
FeiFei Jiang
Galit Knotz
Gerloni Cotton
Heather Habes
Jason Wright
Katherine C. Aldin
Kellian Summers
Kelly Hinojosa
Kelly Winter Weil
Kim Guzman
Kimberly Higgins
Kimie Arguello
Lainie Bird
Laura Lariu
Lori Arakaki
Martin Kohan
Michelle Nguyen
Nathan Gabbard
Paulina Slagter
Rachel Friedman
Roxana Guidero
Sabina Jacobs
Sara Colón
Sarah Broomer
Sonia A. Vucetic
Stephen Kelly
Will Brendel

FY19-20 Staff
Alex Fuxa Ramirez
Alex Zuniga
Amanda Doupe
Amira Samuel
Anabel Cardenas
Angelica Gil
Carmen McDonald
Dan Hanley
Diane Trunk
Erica Carroll
Erika Diaz
Gladys La Torre
Jane Byun
Jane Van
Jimena Vasquez
Julie Tedford
Lourdes Galvan
Marcus Bockhorst
Mariliz Romero
Marilyn Florentino
Marissa Marasigan
Marissa Mowery
Matthew Strieker
Mayra Gonzalez
Michelle Carey
Monica Rodas
Monique Arias
Natalie Avila
Norayma Cabot
Paxcely Marquez
Phallen Gaskin
Rosa Bugarin
Rosa Larios
Rosalina Gaspar-Montano
Rosi Leon
Sandy De Jesus
Sarah Reisman
Sonia Shakoori
Sylvia Gribbell
Teresa Vargas Valdes
Vivian Martinez
Yesenia Acosta
Yeison Soto Valdez

We were able to help
move their lives forward.

In May 2020, we launched our first remote U Visa Clinicwith pro bono partner Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

In our pre-COVID world, LACLJ’s Pro Bono Manager, Amira Samuel, had been discussing facilitating a U Visa Clinic with Gibson Dunn Partner & Pro Bono Chair, Katie Marquart. When the pandemic hit, Katie and her team wanted to make sure low-income immigrant survivors could still rely on their support to submit their U Visa applications.

Together, we experimented with a new model to provide services remotely. Gibson Dunn was able to collaborate with their corporate client to support survivors under these incredibly difficult circumstances. We provided trainings over videoconferencing and connected with clients through videochat and telephone calls.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Gibson Dunn for their willingness to pivot from a live clinic to a virtual clinic so that we can continue to serve survivors who are trying to pursue safety and self-determined futures. Notwithstanding the challenges of the pandemic, every one of our clients got the representation they deserved. And together, we were able to help move their lives forward.” 

Amira Samuel, LACLJ Pro Bono Manager

Because of their flexibility and dedication to pro bono, seven survivors and their families’ cases are now moving forward. One of the cases includes a 30-year old mother who survived abuse by her husband and is trying to start a new life with her young son. Another includes a mother of four children who we had previously helped with her custody and visitation case against her abuser. Now, both of these women’s U Visa applications have been submitted and they are hopeful for their futures. In FY19-20, Gibson Dunn provided nearly 1,500 pro bono hours to LACLJ, including 250 hours spent for the U Visa Remote Clinic. Their support not only helped many families in need, but also allowed LACLJ to increase our staff capacity to serve new clients.

what makes a real difference for survivors in our community?

Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault face numerous barriers in accessing justice. Unlike the criminal system where a prosecutor files cases and a detective investigates a crime, survivors in civil court hold the burden to present their case for protection. And in civil court, survivors have no right to an attorney. The entire burden of getting free from abuse is on the survivor- they have to file the police report, they have to file the Restraining Order, and they have to file the immigration petition.

On top of navigating a confusing legal process, low- income survivors often face homelessness when leaving an abusive home. Many struggle with mental health issues from the trauma they experienced and survivors are often left without resources or sources of support. Moreover, immigrant survivors fear getting deported or separated from their children.

The discussion around domestic violence and sexual assault is often around “why didn’t they leave?” or “why didn’t they report?” Facing these challenges alone can feel insurmountable. But survivors are strong, and with the right support, they can create a new, violence-free future for them and their kids.

Working alongside survivors to attain justice is critical to their empowerment and success. Our team is there to stand by survivors, assisting them through every step of the journey. By providing representation in domestic violence proceedings in family court, with the immigration system, or in the criminal system as advocates, we ensure survivors don’t have to take it on alone.

This is different than other models that triage services, focus on a clinic model, or have survivors use self-help methods. Holistic services means looking at where the client is at in their life, what all the barriers they have, and understanding the system they are facing. Survivors are the experts of their lives and their goals, and we as their legal team do all we can to ensure justice is achieved.

When we first meet with a survivor, our team spends hours with them getting to know their unique situation and developing a plan of action. Community care advocates first conduct a holistic client background screening. We know clients present with multiple issues, not just a legal need and if they are experiencing homelessness for example, they cannot be present to fully litigate their restraining order case. Providing wraparound supportive services also helps us address survivors’ non-legal needs, such as safety planning, signing up for government benefits, and providing referrals for other community resources. Attorneys conduct a holistic legal screening and meet with supervisors to determine what level of service can be provided. Finally, legal advocates work with the survivor to prepare documents for court.

We know that empowering clients and providing holistic support is the best way for our work to have long-term impact. Last year, more than 80% of the survivors we served reported less fear, more confidence, more hope, and better relationships with their children. LACLJ’s services are more than just a restraining order granted or visa application approved.

However, government funding is often limiting. A grant may fund one specific outcome, or only one portion of a case. The true cost of walking alongside a survivor on their journey to safety is so much more. Real change in people’s lives is complex and happens through the support of our entire legal team. That’s where our donors have the greatest impact, where their gifts meet our mission.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve dedicated my entire career serving and representing survivors, and I know we are making a difference in the lives of those in need. Survivors are facing so many challenges, but justice and safety are possible. Real change is possible.

Making sure survivors are heard

For nearly a decade, LACLJ has provided immigration services for undocumented survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Through this work, LACLJ serves low-income, hard-to-reach and underserved members of our community.

In addition to the challenges experienced by citizen survivors of abuse, undocumented survivors face fear of deportation and family separation, predatory notarios who fail to provide legitimate legal assistance, language and cultural barriers, and fear of receiving help thinking it may impact future citizenship eligibility. Just three years ago, around 50% of clients LACLJ served were undocumented. This year, more than 75% of survivors we serve are undocumented. Immigration relief is a long process for families. U Visa applications typically take five to seven years to obtain an administrative decision.

Even more frustrating, many survivors who have submitted their U Visa applications are left waiting over four years for their work permit. In October 2019, LACLJ and its partners Kirkland & Ellis and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for failing to issue work permits for eligible U-Visa applicants in a reasonable time.

In FY19-20, about a third of all clients LACLJ served had a U Visa matter. These services can take an average of 50 hours of work starting from legal assessment to filing. As survivors meet with USCIS, obtain work permits, and respond to changing immigration policies, their LACLJ legal team remains by their side helping to advocate for them and ensure their rights are protected.

Survivors of sexual assault are amongst the most vulnerable groups in our society. Even more so, when they are undocumented. At LACLJ I help undocumented survivors of sexual assault apply for the U Visa and VAWA so that they can stop living in fear of being removed from the United States. Thanks to our holistic services we help our clients beyond just applying for a restraining order or immigration relief. We ensure that they have the tools and resources necessary to help them create their own future.

Yeison Soto Valdez, Immigration Attorney

Equal access to support

In 2018 as part of our three-year strategic plan, LACLJ prioritized efforts to strengthen our service model by further integrating culturally responsive strategies and practices. Since then, LACLJ has conducted a cultural competency assessment, evaluated our current practices, and hired a consulting group to facilitate this process. In February 2020, staff participated in a one-day retreat focused on developing key cultural responsiveness priorities. Discussion centered on LACLJ’s policies and practices, stakeholder involvement, professional development, client outcomes, leadership opportunities and engagement of community resources.

As a result of this retreat, LACLJ created a Cultural Responsiveness Committee that will lead the agency in actively and systemically engaging clients in developing LACLJ practices and policies, building and sustaining relationships with community partners, and strengthening a Power-With (rather than a Power-Over) culture at LACLJ. As this work continues in the coming years, we are excited to re-dedicate our commitment to cultural responsiveness and fostering an organizational culture that reflects and honors the lived experiences of marginalized communities, clients and staff.

Making sure survivors are heard

Our sexual assault survivors’ legal team specializes in the areas of criminal justice advocacy, Title IX, immigration, and family law support. For the last several years, we have collaborated and established the non- intimate partner sexual assault (NIPSA) collaborative with our partner organizations, which include YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, East Los Angeles Women’s Center, Downtown Women’s Center, and the Violence Intervention Program.

In addition to cross-trainings on legal remedies and cultural competency, this year LACLJ began co-locating legal services for survivors at the East Los Angeles Women’s Center office, helping to eliminate barriers to access such as transportation. We’ve also been able to refer clients directly to one another ensuring a quick and trauma-informed response for survivors. Together, we are minimizing barriers for survivors, sharing community resources, and providing holistic support for community members who have experienced sexual assault.

Throughout [our] history, we have recognized how deeply trauma has affected the lives of survivors and their families who reach out to us seeking safety and healing. Without legal representation, a survivor’s voice often goes ignored. A legal partnership can seek to ensure that survivors can have access to the appropriate legal services they need to secure and maintain their utmost safety. Together we are committed to making sure survivors are heard and have equal access to support.

Zara Espinoza, Clinical Coordinator, East Los Angeles Women’s Center

COVID-19 Fund

In March, LACLJ quickly responded to the changing needs of survivors as a result of the global pandemic. Our office moved from providing services in-person to working remotely, changing our intake processes and staying abreast of the various changes courts were implementing as they took their own precautionary measures. While courts stopped hearing many cases, domestic violence cases continued to proceed and our team continued to represent survivors in need.

At the same time, survivors in our community were left feeling more vulnerable to abuse and control, isolated from the people and resources that could help them. Calls to domestic violence shelters and hotlines increased. Survivors complying with shelter- in-place orders were left alone at home with their abusers. Immigrant survivors were not eligible for many government COVID-19 relief resources. Additionally, as more and more jobs were being lost, survivors felt stuck relying on their abuser for financial support.

While government agencies, immigration offices and businesses closed their physical offices or limited hours, survivors were left to figure out how to secure safety and protection in an ever-changing environment. One of our clients was even sent back and forth with conflicting information from the LAPD’s office on when she could pick up the documents she needed for her case. Safety became that much harder to achieve.

As the pandemic brought new challenges to survivors seeking justice, our team immediately stepped up to help our community figure out the new normal, the new way of filing restraining orders, and the new process to gaining safety and protection. We collaborated with partners to advocate on behalf of survivors and ensure safety precautions didn’t negatively impact survivors’ access to justice. Attorneys set-up their homes for remote court appearances. And Community Care Advocates performed outreach to ensure survivors knew of government relief resources.

In addition, we developed the COVID-19 Response Fund to be able to continue to provide free legal representation remotely. Every year in May, LACLJ hosts our gala attended by over 500 guests. We had to cancel this year’s event, which was estimated to raise over 10% of our annual budget.

While the start of the year has been difficult, our dedication to our mission remains. Low-income survivors still rely on our support to be able to access the justice system and community resources they need to survive. Thanks to our generous supporters, we can continue to be responsive to the needs of our communities and help survivors achieve safety.

Dear Friends,

It is challenging to reflect on the year and remember a pre-COVID world. I joined LACLJ in September 2019 and enthusiastically set priorities for the year. As a Latina and daughter of immigrants, I felt honored for the opportunity to serve the community in which I grew up. My priority was understanding the heart and soul of LACLJ and connecting with stakeholders, Board members, community, and staff. I had the opportunity to accompany clients to court and saw our team in action with our pro bono partners’ support. It was evident that the need for the services provided by LACLJ vastly outweighed our capacity and that our staff needed more support and resources to address the need. I focused on streamlining processes and analyzing costs to determine the best course of action. Six months later, we found ourselves shifting, reprioritizing, and facing even more challenges than ever.

In the face of a global pandemic, our staff developed innovative processes to ensure the continued access to high-quality services for survivors. They quickly adapted to working remotely and addressed every challenge our clients presented. We established our COVID-19 Response Fund to continue to provide free legal representation remotely. With the generous support of

donors, we raised over $230,000, which provided much-needed support for our staff, who helped survivors

navigate public benefits, new business hours, and court closures. The digital divide proved to be among the biggest challenges for our clients.

We are proud of all the accomplishments presented in the 2020 Impact Report that follows, but more than ever, the pandemic has made it clear that much remains to be done for survivors. This year, we served 879 clients but unfortunately had to turn away hundreds more. We must advocate for equal access to justice, and we need to increase our funding so that every survivor can have legal representation and do not face their abuser alone. We must create safe spaces where survivors can thrive and create a new beginning. Above everything else, we must change the narrative, where we no longer blame victims for their experiences and choices.

Despite all the challenges, I am energized and hopeful for the upcoming year. For our supporters, I invite you to join in celebrating our successes and continue your commitment and support in helping us achieve our mission. For the many of you who are new, I welcome you to LACLJ, and I look forward to working with you in 2021.

Best regards,

Norayma Cabot, Executive Director