FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Legal Voice? What do you do?
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1978 as the Northwest Women's Law Center. We advance legal rights for women in the Northwest. We take on court cases with the potential to improve the quality of life for women; we advocate for legislation that advances and protects women’s rights; and we empower women to advocate for themselves and their families through our education materials.
Are you a law firm?
No. Legal Voice is a nonprofit women's rights organization that works on legal issues and uses the law to make change. We do employ lawyers, and we often have a role in court cases, but we are not a private law firm.
What do you do? Do you represent people directly, or do you only work on class action lawsuits?
Our mission is to improve women's lives by changing the law. We employ a variety of tools and strategies to effectively advocate for women including litigation, legislative advocacy, providing educational materials to help individuals navigate the law, and facilitating community education. Sometimes we represent individuals directly, and sometimes we represent classes of people. We are not a legal aid organization; our main focus is not direct legal services. Rather, our strategies are all geared toward having a broader impact by establishing legal precedent or by changing a law or policy.
How do you choose your cases?
Legal Voice selects cases that provide an opportunity for us to change the law or establish important precedent to advance women's legal rights. Staff members screen cases, and volunteer attorneys serve on a committee to help us decide which cases to pursue. We also actively seek out specific kinds of cases, or hear of a case through the media that is related to our mission and then reach out to see if Legal Voice can help improve the law in that area. Often times our allies and community partners will inform us about cases that could change or create a law that affects women.
Are you a government agency? Where do you get your funding?
Legal Voice is not a government agency, nor do we receive government funding. We receive funding from individual donors, foundations and other grants, and corporate sponsorships. Please see our annual reports for more information.
How many people work for you?
Legal Voice has a staff of nine people and a budget of just over $1 million. We are able to accomplish so much with so few resources thanks to the heavy leveraging of our dedicated volunteers!
Do you help men?
Yes. Legal Voice has been involved in court cases in support of men when the outcome of the case will have an impact on laws that affect women. We believe that when you help the most marginalized and disenfranchised in our community, everyone, including men, benefit.
Why won't you take my divorce case?
Legal Voice does not have attorneys on staff available to represent individuals. Our mission is to take cases that will create systemic change—cases that will change the law or affect a very large number of women. In divorce cases, as in most trial level cases, the law is usually not the issue. Of course, finding representation may be the issue; if you are in need of legal assistance, please find information on your legal rights and how to find a lawyer in our Tools & Resources section.
I just need the contact information for the Women's Law Center in another state.
There are four other state-based legal nonprofits in the country that focus on advancing women’s and LGBT rights—California Women’s Law Center, Gender Justice (Upper Midwest), Southwest Women’s Law Center (New Mexico), and Women’s Law Project (Pennsylvania). Legal Voice is unique in this community of organizations because of the breadth of our work and the geographic range we cover. We collaborate with our sister organizations, national women’s legal organizations, and many others on issues that affect women.
What are you working on right now?
Legal Voice is always working on a broad range of issues. Check out Our Work to find out what we're currently working on, and our News section to see our latest press releases and news updates.
Do you need volunteers? Can only attorneys volunteer?
Yes, we always need volunteers! There are many opportunities, and not just for lawyers. Volunteers help with a variety of projects: administrative volunteers assist in our office and at our special events; volunteers with legal/paralegal experience (including law students) join us as interns; other volunteers help us raise funds, and serve on committees or as co-counsel on impact cases. Learn how you can get involved by visiting our Volunteer section.
Does Legal Voice have an intern program?
Yes, we do. We rely on both our legal and paralegal interns to work closely with staff attorneys on current legal issues in women's rights law. For more information about these programs, please go to our Volunteer section.