LET’S UNITE TO CLOSE THE JUSTICE GAP ONCE AND FOR ALL

Tens of millions of Americans are suffering from a hidden crisis of civil justice. But a new bipartisan solution — the justice worker — is ready to be supercharged.
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LET’S UNITE TO CLOSE THE JUSTICE GAP —ONCE AND FOR ALL

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a hidden crisis of civil justice. But there is hope in a big and unifying new idea: the justice worker.
Join the Movement

LET’S UNITE TO CLOSE THE JUSTICE GAP —ONCE AND FOR ALL

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a hidden crisis of civil justice. But there is hope in a big and unifying new idea: the justice worker.
Join the Movement

LET’S UNITE TO CLOSE THE JUSTICE GAP —ONCE AND FOR ALL

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a hidden crisis of civil justice. But there is hope in a big and unifying new idea: the justice worker.
Join the Movement

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Most Americans are locked out of the law.

But justice workers hold a key.

Civil Justice Problems Threaten the Basic Needs of Tens of Millions of Americans

Americans experience 150M to 250M new civil justice problems each year — putting their housing, employment, healthcare, education, families, and much more at risk.

Low-Income Americans are Often Locked Out of the Civil Justice System

Less than 10 percent of low-income Americans currently get legal help — from a lawyer or anyone — to resolve critical civil justice problems.

Instead of Equal Justice Under the Law, The Crisis Worsens Existing Inequalities

As the law remains a barrier, not a tool to protect rights, it also disproportionately impacts people of color — exacerbating and deepening existing social and economic inequalities.

More Lawyers Will Not Solve the Problem

Despite a four-fold increase in the number of lawyers over the last 50 years, the crisis has worsened. Lawyers aren’t always the ideal helpers. And they can’t keep up with the need.

Justice Workers Are an Effective, Scalable, and Unifying Solution

Evidence from the United States and other countries suggests that justice workers are as or more effective than lawyers in helping people to resolve their civil justice issues — and that they have the potential to scale to meet the need and empower communities.

Frontline Justice will supercharge A Movement of justice workers

For years, we have tried to solve the civil justice crisis by getting people more access to lawyers – more volunteer lawyers, more legal aid, and lower legal costs. These strategies have a place but have proven insufficient.

Frontline Justice finds hope in a growing evidence base demonstrating that a new category of legal helper specifically trained to help people resolve their civil legal issues — the justice worker — can transform the way that Americans get legal help.

As a center of gravity for the emerging “justice worker” movement, Frontline Justice will work to amplify this innovation across the entire country.
In November 2022 the Alaska Supreme Court was the first in the country to authorize a waiver that allows Community Justice Workers that are trained and supervised by Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) to provide legal advice and representation without a law license. Through this program and its work ALSC has helped Alaska residents access $5.5M in SNAP benefits, ending months-long delays in distribution.

The opportunity to become a Community Justice WorkeR was a no brainer.”

Jen Paninagar Kiokun, a Community Justice Worker and member of the Qutekcak tribe in Alaska, helps people in her community access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which provide food assistance to families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Jen Paninagar Kiokun
Seward, Alaska

The opportunity to become a Community Justice WorkeR was a no brainer.”

Jen Paninagar Kiokun, a Community Justice Worker and member of the Qutekcak tribe in Alaska, helps people in her community access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which provide food assistance to families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Jen Paninagar Kiokun
Seward, Alaska

The opportunity to become a Community Justice WorkeR was a no brainer.”

Jen Paninagar Kiokun, a Community Justice Worker and member of the Qutekcak tribe in Alaska, helps people in her community access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which provide food assistance to families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Jen Paninagar Kiokun
Seward, Alaska
In November 2022 the Alaska Supreme Court was the first in the country to authorize a waiver that allows Community Justice Workers that are trained and supervised by Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) to provide legal advice and representation without a law license. Through this program and its work ALSC has helped Alaska residents access $5.5M in SNAP benefits, ending months-long delays in distribution.

The opportunity to become a Community Justice WorkeR was a no brainer.”

Jen Paninagar Kiokun, a Community Justice Worker and member of the Qutekcak tribe in Alaska, helps people in her community access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which provide food assistance to families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Jen Paninagar Kiokun
Seward, Alaska
In November 2022 the Alaska Supreme Court was the first in the country to authorize a waiver that allows Community Justice Workers that are trained and supervised by Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) to provide legal advice and representation without a law license. Through this program and its work ALSC has helped Alaska residents access $5.5M in SNAP benefits, ending months-long delays in distribution.

The opportunity to become a Community Justice WorkeR was a no brainer.”

Jen Paninagar Kiokun, a Community Justice Worker and member of the Qutekcak tribe in Alaska, helps people in her community access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which provide food assistance to families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Jen Paninagar Kiokun
Seward, Alaska

Members of my community are shut out from ways to vindicate their own rights”

The Reverend John Udo-Okon is a pastor and Justice Advocate in the South Bronx, which has among the highest poverty and unemployment rates in New York. His assistance to community members’  debt collection cases is in addition to running a mobile food pantry and  other social and pastoral services.
Reverend John Udo-Okon
South Bronx, New York
Reverend John is a plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit against New York State, Upsolve v. James, which challenges New York’s unauthorized practice of law (UPL) statute on First Amendment grounds. In 2022, a district court judge authorized him to begin helping people with debt collection cases with training and support from the nonprofit Upsolve while the case is on appeal in the Second Circuit.

Members of my community are shut out from ways to vindicate their own rights”

The Reverend John Udo-Okon is a pastor and Justice Advocate in the South Bronx, which has among the highest poverty and unemployment rates in New York. His assistance to community members’  debt collection cases is in addition to running a mobile food pantry and  other social and pastoral services.
Reverend John Udo-Okon
South Bronx, New York
Reverend John is a plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit against New York State, Upsolve v. James, which challenges New York’s unauthorized practice of law (UPL) statute on First Amendment grounds. In 2022, a district court judge authorized him to begin helping people with debt collection cases with training and support from the nonprofit Upsolve while the case is on appeal in the Second Circuit.

It’s support  we would have not been able to Provide in the past.”

Anais is a Licensed Legal Advocate at a domestic violence organization in Tucson, Arizona. Her legal and trauma-informed training, years of experience, and ability to communicate with English- and Spanish-speaking survivors make her an incredibly effective legal advocate in helping survivors attain protective orders.
Anais A.
Tucson, Arizona
In 2020 the Arizona Supreme Court issued an administrative order authorizing the Licensed Legal Advocate program allowing domestic violence advocates to provide legal advice and support, including with orders of protection and other related family law issues. Advocates are trained by Innovation for Justice in partnership with local domestic violence organizations.

Members of my community are shut out from ways to vindicate their own rights”

The Reverend John Udo-Okon is a pastor and Justice Advocate in the South Bronx, which has among the highest poverty and unemployment rates in New York. His assistance to community members’  debt collection cases is in addition to running a mobile food pantry and  other social and pastoral services.
Reverend John Udo-Okon
South Bronx, New York
Reverend John is a plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit against New York State, Upsolve v. James, which challenges New York’s unauthorized practice of law (UPL) statute on First Amendment grounds. In 2022, a district court judge authorized him to begin helping people with debt collection cases with training and support from the nonprofit Upsolve while the case is on appeal in the Second Circuit.

Increasing access to difficult systems through a familiar language is critical.”

Rachel Wagner is the Spanish-speaking Support Specialist at the Massachusetts Trial Court Service Center. The first person litigants encounter when they arrive, Rachel works to make the court an accessible and equitable environment for dozens of court users every day.
Rachel Sylvia Wagner
Boston, Massachusetts
Social justice organizations like the Court Service Centers (CSCs) have increasingly prioritized hiring staff members with a wide variety of language skills to cater to the demographics of the public. Be it Spanish, Haitian Creole, or Vietnamese, the CSC is part of a larger justice effort to make systems more accessible for non-native English speakers, combating systems that disadvantage people of color and those in poverty.

Members of my community are shut out from ways to vindicate their own rights”

The Reverend John Udo-Okon is a pastor and Justice Advocate in the South Bronx, which has among the highest poverty and unemployment rates in New York. His assistance to community members’  debt collection cases is in addition to running a mobile food pantry and  other social and pastoral services.
Reverend John Udo-Okon
South Bronx, New York
Reverend John is a plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit against New York State, Upsolve v. James, which challenges New York’s unauthorized practice of law (UPL) statute on First Amendment grounds. In 2022, a district court judge authorized him to begin helping people with debt collection cases with training and support from the nonprofit Upsolve while the case is on appeal in the Second Circuit.

Our goal is to turn momentum into a movement

Justice workers are changing the way Americans engage with justice. But they are fragmented, under-resourced, and disempowered. Frontline Justice will work with a growing network of partners to address these challenges — and help this new role become as ubiquitous in our society as social workers, health workers, and care workers, all empowered to proudly serve on the frontlines of their respective fields. We will:

Build capacity

Grow the workforce of justice workers.

Reform Policy

Advocate for changes in laws and regulations that empower justice workers to effectively serve their communities.

Increase Resources

Mobilize private and public funding to improve infrastructure, foster innovation, and scale successful models.

Engage Communities

Facilitate collaboration and coordination among organizations and individuals working across different areas of need.

Spread the Word

Communicate the value and importance of justice workers.

This Mission Calls for All Hands on Deck

Join us in bringing about a day when all Americans — no matter the balance of their bank account, number of diplomas on their wall, or zip code — can access legal help they need when they need it. With your help, we can get there faster.
Join the Effort

We are building a team across party, region, background, discipline, sector, and beyond.

1-2 sentences about the team and Frontline’s approach to building it.

Founding Team

Nikole Nelson
CEO
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Rebecca Sandefur
Co-Chair
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Cecilia Muñoz
Co-Chair
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John Bridgeland
Co-Chair
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Matthew Burnett
Co-Founder & Senior Advisor
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Andrew Mangino
Head of Launch
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Vivian Graubard
Head of Reruitment
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James J. Sandman
National Leadership Council Chair & Senior Advisor
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Riley Kennedy
Partnerships Manager
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Zac Hill
Advisor
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lEadership Council Members

Thomas Berry
Research Fellow, Cato Institute
General Pete Chiarelli
Former Vice Chief of Staff, Army
Rebecca Cokley
First Disability Rights Program Officer, Ford Foundation
Lisa Dewey
Pro Bono Partner, DLA Piper US LLP
Lisa Foster
Co-Executive Director, Fines & Fees Justice Center
Leslie Frane
Executive Vice President, SEIU (Service Employees International Union)
Andrew Friedman
Founding Director, NYU School of Law Initiative for Community Power
Bethany Hamilton, JD
Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, Milken Institute School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management, The George Washington University
Justice Melissa Hart
Justice, Colorado Supreme Court; Adjunct Professor, University of Colorado Law School and DU Sturm College of Law
Chief Justice Nathan Hecht
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
Justice Deno Himonas
Partner, Wilson Sonsini; Former Justice, Supreme Court of Utah
Lam Ho
Founder & Executive Director, Beyond Legal Aid
Justice Wallace B. Jefferson
Partner, Alexander Dubose & Jefferson; Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
Maha Jweied
CEO, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice
Charles Kamasaki
Visiting Scholar, Cornell Law School; Senior Advisor, UnidosUS; and Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
Joseph Kennedy III
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland
Karen A. Lash
Senior Fellow, Georgetown Justice Lab
Erica Teasley Linnick
Vice President, State Infrastructure Fund, NEO Philanthropy
Vivek Maru
CEO, Namati
Mary McClymont
Former President & CEO, Public Welfare Foundation
Justice Bridget McCormack
Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan
Kimberly Merchant
Senior Director of Advocate Resources and Training, Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Harriet Miers
Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Dr. Robert Onders
Medical Director, Maniilaq Health Center
Jhody Polk
Founder, Jailhouse Lawyers Initiative; CEO, A Light In The Valley, LLC
Ai-Jen Poo
President, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Rebecca Rapp
General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Ascendium Education Group, Inc.
William (Bill) Alvarado Rivera
Senior Vice President, Litigation, AARP Foundation
Tanina Rostain
Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Justice Innovation, Georgetown Law Center
Tim Shriver
Founder & CEO, UNITE; Chairman, Special Olympics; Chairman, C.A.S.E.L.
Michele Statz
Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Medical School; Affiliated Faculty, University of Minnesota Law School
Sacha Steinberger
Founder & Co-Executive Director, Legal Link
David Udell
Executive Director, National Center for Access to Justice
Laura Vazquez
Immigrant Integration Associate Director, UnidosUS
Jim Wallis
Chair & Director, Georgetown Center on Faith and Justice
This leadership council represents just the start. More partners will be added in the coming months. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us.

Want to join our team of pragmatic idealists?

We are seeking issue experts and social innovators passionate about bringing justice workers to life at scale. If you are interested in joining our team, please check out our current openings below to see if there's a fit for you.

If our current openings don't align with your expertise, we still encourage you to get in touch. Email info@frontlinejustice.org with your resume and a brief description of how your skills and passions could contribute to our mission. We'd love to hear from you!
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