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National Legal Aid Funding

The ABArray Legal Aid Funding Report allows users to access an online array of national civil legal aid funding data from 2003 to 2019. Funding data from 2020 is currently being collected and compiled and will be available soon. Collection of the national data is conducted annually by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) and its Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives. The ABArray interface is updated as new data becomes available through the annual data collection process. See our FAQs and the information below for guidance on how to interact with the ABArray data.

Click Here for the Latest Legal Aid Funding and Poverty Population Data

About the ABArray Data 

 

About ABArray: The ABArray Legal Aid Funding Report allows users to access an online array of civil legal aid funding data from 2003 to the present time, displayed in chart format. Collection of the data is conducted annually by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID), through its Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives. The ABArray interface is updated as new data becomes available through the annual data collection process. 

About the Charts: All ABArray charts are intended to provide an estimate of resources available (whether nationally or within a state), to guide and enhance resource development by funding advocates. The information provided within the charts is approximate and voluntarily provided on a periodic basis by contributors across the country; therefore, SCLAID cannot guarantee that the data are precise or complete. The information changes rapidly, and significant amounts of funding in each state are “unstable” and may not be available in subsequent years. 

Information Sources: All resource amounts, except Legal Services Corporation (LSC) data, have been gathered by the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives from various sources, including individual legal services programs, state IOLTA programs, bar associations and foundations, and state government offices. 

Data Collection Periods: With some exceptions, data for each year displayed within the ABArray charts were gathered according to the following timeframes (for detailed information regarding a specific year or years, please contact ABArray@americanbar.org):

1. LSC amounts correspond to the current fiscal year.

2. Court Fees & Fines and State Appropriation amounts correspond to the current year legislative session.

3. Most other amounts correspond to programs’ year-end reports for the prior fiscal year, which is usually the most recent data available. 

Inflation Adjustments: Inflation adjustments have been made for each year of data collected and are based on the Consumer Price Index. See Elizabeth B. Appelbaum, “The Consumer Price Index and Inflation – Adjust Numbers for Inflation,” Convergence. December 2004. 

Poverty Population Map: Poverty population data is based on 125% of the federal poverty level, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Poverty estimates were not available for 2001-2004, so the numbers from 2000 were used for those years. 

Inequality Map: Inequality is based on the GINI Index of Income Inequality, calculated by the U.S. Census, and is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a jurisdiction’s residents, and is the most commonly used measurement of inequality. 

National Level Data vs. State Level Data: Data for ABArray is gathered at the individual program level, then aggregated and displayed at either the national or state level. National level charts contain the total national amount of legal aid funding (reported by funding category) and are available on the public portion of the ABArray website. State-level charts are displayed on a restricted portion of the ABArray website accessible only to programs that directly or indirectly provide the ABA with data. 

Restrictions on State Level Data: The dissemination of detailed state and program-level data is governed by SCLAID’s Data Privacy Policy, which recognizes that data-providers may use their own state data as they choose. However, whenever a data provider wants to use comparison data from any other states, prior permission must be obtained from the other states’ data providers. In other words, if you have access to state-level charts, you may NOT share information regarding any other state besides your own with anyone outside of your program without prior permission from that state’s data providers. Many of our sources agreed to provide data to us on the condition that such data would not be broadly distributed, and we honor our commitment to those sources. To help users obtain the necessary permissions, a comprehensive list of data-providers will be posted on the restricted portion of the ABArray website. 

Contact Information of Data Providers: All programs that provide data for the ABArray Legal Aid Funding Report will be listed within the restricted portion of the website solely for the purpose of providing contact information for data providers seeking permission to use data from states other than their own. By participating in the ABArray data collection process, you consent to this listing of your program’s contact information for this express purpose. 

Custom Charts vs. Standard Charts: The ABArray platform is configured to enable users to pick and choose specific information to be displayed and downloaded in the form of customized charts. In addition, the website will contain standard charts available for download that will be updated annually. 

Downloading/Printing Charts: Users may export and/or download the data charts, including customized charts. To do so, simply float your cursor in the top right corner of the chart window until three vertical dots appear. Clicking these dots will provide options for export and download. Please note that this functionality works best when using a Google Chrome web browser. Also, be advised that all materials contained on the ABArray website are protected by United States copyright law. Before downloading or reproducing any of these materials, please carefully review the ABA Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy.

Questions? Contact ABArray@americanbar.org.