Welcome to the second in the ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why, How?’ series, which aims to introduce the mission, motivation, operations, and visions of the organization. Please feel free to comment, leave feedback, and/or contact us, and learn more about LEG at www.lawforenvgrassroots.com!
WHAT DOES LEG DO?
The mission of Law for the Environmental Grassroots (LEG) is to help strengthen the voice of the grassroots (and in turn, the larger environmental movement) by enhancing the ability of communities and organizations to access legal resources when and where they need them. To ensure that our focus is on areas identified as priority by environmental groups, and that we’re able to adapt over time to meet new challenges, we’ve developed three main focus areas:
- matching: help grassroots organizations identify their legal needs and match them with appropriate legal service providers
Law for the Environmental Grassroots (LEG) aims to be able to connect all organizations combating environmental injustices with the legal resources they need, including matching them with attorneys. We’re beginning that process by matching and referring organizations in the New York-New Jersey area and for networks with which we have established partnerships. LEG will be a tool for legal service providers as well: a lawyer/law firm unable to take a particular case would be able to refer that client to LEG, which would then match the client with another provider. We’re also building a roster of available legal and advocacy organizations that have committed to providing services, and will help oversee and manage the process. Most importantly, LEG will ensure that every organization that reaches out is respectfully heard and responded to. More information is available on the ‘Matching‘ page.
- coordinating: strengthening connections between existing legal service providers, related initiatives, and grassroots groups
LEG aims to decrease the communication barriers between and across legal service providers, grassroots groups, and new initiatives by providing a central space to connect and share information. We will work with legal service providers and grassroots groups to develop and make available online intake and data collection tools to help streamline the process of identifying common legal issues. Similarly, we know how frustrating it can be for recent graduates to find environmentally-focused work in public interest (or private) law, in part because of the resource constraints of even the largest organizations. And many exciting new ideas or initiatives can struggle if there’s no one to help build it with, or if they have to build up contacts and partnerships anew each time. LEG wants to provide a space to help connect new ideas to existing projects or to potential partners (think an interactive job board listing ideas as well as job openings).
LEG has no desire to reinvent the wheel or to try and ‘compete’ with existing organizations, but it does believe there’s more we can do to increase communication between and across legal sectors. More information is available on the ‘Connecting‘ page.
- building and expanding new tools: helping to expand the variety and accessibility of legal resources available to grassroots groups
There a growing number of exciting initiatives and tools designed to make the legal process and accessing information more transparent and less difficult. In its ‘Your Tools’ section, LEG aims to aggregate information on existing initiatives, and build new ones where useful. For example, our ‘Directory of Legal Service Providers’ is an open database of law firm and public interest law offices nationwide that focus on environmental issues. Our ‘Citizen Science’ page provides information on who can help you collect scientific data. And our ‘Toolkits’ pages aim to provide usable tools on specific issues (like PCBs or brownfields).
To recap: we want to make it easier for organizations and legal resources to connect with each other for mutual benefit. We aim to do this by helping to match organizations with lawyers, provide a central space to connect and communicate, and build self-help tools so groups can do more themselves.
Learn more: read more about us on our website: lawforenvgrassroots.com
Next up: “LEG: How did it Start?”