HISTORY OF THE LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER
Legal Aid Timeline
1967 A group of Charlottesville attorneys and law students establishes the Charlottesville-Albemarle Legal Aid Society (CALAS) in response to the acute need for a program of civil legal assistance to those who could not pay for services. Staff and local pro bono attorneys provide free legal services with funding from the national Legal Services Program.
1970 First federal funding for Legal Aid from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity.
1978 First outreach services to rural counties of Nelson, Greene, and Louisa.
1982 Legal Aid receives its first funding from the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County for provision of legal services to the poor.
1984 Volunteers from Boyle and Bain, a private law firm, provide advice to Legal Aid clients one afternoon per week, establishing the pro bono model still in use.
1996 The U.S. Congress drastically reduces federal funding for legal aid providers nation-wide and imposes significant restrictions on the representation of low-income clients. CALAS begins to examine its options to continue serving the full range of legal needs of low-income families.
1998 CALAS assists in the creation of Piedmont Legal Services, a new corporation with an overlapping Board, to receive all federal funds that can be used for cases that fit the new federal guidelines. The Board charges CALAS with responsibility to find new sources of revenue to continue operation to address issues that fall outside of the federal guidelines. CALAS launches two programs, JustChildren and the Virginia Justice Center for Farm and Immigrant Workers, that become an integral part of its mission.
2001 Following a merger with Southside Virginia Legal Services, Inc. – a legal services program with a rich tradition and history in the Petersburg area – the Charlottesville-Albemarle Legal Aid Society becomes the Legal Aid Justice Center.
2001 Consistent with federal requests to consolidate services regionally, Piedmont Legal Services merges into Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, creating federally-funded sister offices in Charlottesville, Richmond and Petersburg, and expanding Legal Aid Justice Center services to the Richmond area.
2003 Legal Aid Justice Center conducts a capital campaign to purchase and renovate the Bruton Building at 1000 Preston Avenue in Charlottesville to serve as the headquarters office for the four offices in Central and Northern Virginia.
2006-07 The Legal Aid Justice Center dedicates the Charles B. Holt Rock House, restored with community support to serve as headquarters for a pro-bono project with the firm of Hunton & Williams, and installs a garden and walkway that commemorates Charles B. Holt and the era in which he lived.
2007 The Legal Aid Justice Center celebrates its 40th anniversary of providing legal services in Central Virginia.
2008 Two signature programs at the Legal Aid Justice Center -- the JustChildren Program and the Immigrant Advocacy Program (formerly, the Virginia Justice Center for Farm & Immigrant Workers) -- celebrate their tenth anniversary.