The Access to Justice Campaign seeks to ensure access and fairness for all in the justice system. The ATJ Campaign is a collaborative centralized campaign, administered by the Michigan State Bar Foundation in partnership with the State Bar of Michigan, to increase resources for fifteen regional and statewide civil legal aid programs in Michigan. The participating programs encourage support through the ATJ Fund. Tax deductible contributions to the ATJ Fund are distributed according to the ATJ Campaign policies.
The ATJ Campaign is a statewide effort to increase resources for civil legal aid. Civil legal aid gives those in poverty access to the justice system, a most basic human right. The civil legal aid programs in Michigan help people protect and preserve their livelihoods, their health, their homes and their families. The Michigan legal community can support this essential work and advance access to justice for those in poverty by giving to the ATJ Campaign.ust under 2 million Michigan residents qualify for free civil legal aid because their annual income is below 125% of the federal poverty level ($32,750 for a family of 4). Currently, there is only one Michigan legal aid attorney for every 8,177 people living in poverty. The need for civil legal services for the poor far outweighs the resources available. In fact, approximately 86% of the civil legal aid problems reported receive inadequate or no legal help.
By giving to the centralized ATJ Campaign, Michigan attorneys support 15 legal aid programs throughout the state. In 2019, the ATJ Campaign raised $1,212,498 from the Michigan legal community. This is a 32% increase from 2018. Michigan per attorney giving also increased from $25 per attorney to $29 per attorney. While the campaign increased per attorney giving in 2019, there is still a significant opportunity for growth. The ATJ Campaign has established short and long goals based on the number of active attorneys in Michigan and national data regarding average per attorney giving for states with and without centralized statewide campaigns. The long-term goal is to raise 5.3 million dollars annually, equivalent to an average of $126 per attorney in Michigan. With 100% of all ATJ Fund donations distributed directly to the legal aid programs, campaign growth will significantly improve the ability of legal aid to serve more of those living in poverty and provide life changing services.