Crime, Legal Related

Essex County Legal Aid Association

  • Montclair, NJ
  • www.eclaanj.org

Mission Statement

ECLAA provides free emergency legal advice to indigent residents of Essex County, New Jersey -- typically related to emergency housing, family and consumer issues.  We serve more than 1,000 clients each year with a staff of two part-time attorneys and one assistant onsite at the Essex County Courthouse. This figure is down from more than 1,300 clients served for free in 2008, because budget constraints required that we shift to a 3-to-4 day week from our prior 5-day/week services.  For 2012, we continue to seek an additional $50,000 per year that would allow us to return to a 5-day schedule.  We are doing more with less, while the demand for our services clearly indicates a growing demand that could be better met with a 5-day week.
 

Our clients have often arrived at the courthouse without having had access to any legal advice -- much less legal representation. Our office, in the courthouse complex, can often get emergency referrals from judges, etc. Our staff gives immediate legal advice, and prepares paperwork so a client can proceed pro se, as well as making referrals to organizations that can provide free legal representation.

Main Programs

  1. ECLAA's core operations
Service Areas

Self-reported

New Jersey

Essex County, New Jersey (including Newark, Orange, East Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Irvington, Bloomfield, Nutley, Belleville, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Roseland, Essex Fells, Caldwell, North Caldwell, West Caldwell, Fairfield, Cedar Grove, Verona, Livingston, Millburn, Maplewood)

ruling year

1941

Principal Officer since 2008

Self-reported

Robert M. Adler

Keywords

Self-reported

legal aid, free legal advice, New Jersey, legal, Essex County, Newark, poor, indigent, emergency, pro se

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EIN

22-1487177

 Number

6196123039

Physical Address

465 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Hall of Records - Room 118

Newark, NJ 07102

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Legal Services (I80)

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

Protection Against and Prevention of Neglect, Abuse, Exploitation (I70)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our core program is to provide free emergency legal advice and prepare necessary legal paperwork for our clients to proceed pro se if appropriate. This free service is provided at the courthouse to poor people who have not or cannot be served by other organizations providing legal representation. We perform a form of triage and care similar to an emergency room, as we are physically located where crises are likely to emerge -- a major local courthouse in downtown Newark N.J. We are seeing demand growgiven the current economy -- at the same time as our traditional sources of funding are losing their ability to support our work to the extent they desire and our clients need.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

ECLAA's core operations

Making sure that all indigent residents of Essex County who need and seek our emergency legal help get our helfollowed by consumer matters (including bankruptcy/debtor relief) at about 17%, then by family matters at about 10%, and the balance focused on employment, health, income maintenance and other miscellaneous matters.

Category

Crime & Legal

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Single Parents

Budget

$170,323.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    test1
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
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  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    test3
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    test4
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    test5
Service Areas

Self-reported

New Jersey

Essex County, New Jersey (including Newark, Orange, East Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Irvington, Bloomfield, Nutley, Belleville, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Roseland, Essex Fells, Caldwell, North Caldwell, West Caldwell, Fairfield, Cedar Grove, Verona, Livingston, Millburn, Maplewood)

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

Funding of $60,000 committed to 2013 operations would allow ECLAA to be open every day the courts are open.

photos




External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

ESSEX COUNTY LEGAL AID ASSOCIATION, INC.
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Essex County Legal Aid Association

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Robert M. Adler

BIO

Mr. Adler joined ECLAA in 2008 following more than 30 years of experience in the for-profit sector, focused on communications, research and strategic marketing.  He has served other nonprofit organizations as well -- and has served as an officer of three different 501(c)(3) organizations, including service as president of two of those organizatons.   In addition to his current service with ECLAA, he is principal of Robert M. Adler Strategic Marketing Advisory Services LLC, a consulting firm whose clients include for-profit and nonprofit entities.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Our goals are very specific and totally focused on assuring that the poor people of Essex County, New Jersey continue to have access to free emergency legal advice in 2012 and for years to come:

1.  We will provide free emergency legal advice to every single eligible client who needs our help, with that call for help often needed immediately when someone knocks on our office door.  We will do so directly and in cooperation with organizations that can supplement our immediate emergency advice with representation, etc.

2. We will grow our board and its role in fundraising – generating operating funds from more people and foundations -- given the dramatic decrease in funding available from our major long-term supporters who do not have the money now to fund programs like ECLAA that they truly want to support. There have been massive drop-offs in funds available to all legal services nonprofits from IOLTA funds (IOLTA = Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts), as well as cuts in government funds to Essex-Newark Legal Services (ENLS) for its work, eliminating its ability to outsource through subgrants to organizations like ECLAA. 

3.  To reach both indigent people needing free legal advice and those capable of funding our free services, we created our first-ever website – allowing ECLAA to collect donations online with no hassles for donors. We are using social media tools like Facebook Causes to help spread the word and raise funds cost effectively.
Equal justice for all is not an option but is rather a requirement of a civil society.  If you are considering donating to a worthy nonprofit organization, please commit yourself to equal justice in our community. We hope that you will see it as your social responsibility to assure that each
person be treated with dignity and justice, especially in moments when we cannot let poverty be a barrier to equal justice.

Bob AdlerEssex County Legal Aid Association
website: www.eclaanj.org
e-mail: radler@eclaanj.org"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Robert Michael Rich Esq.

Attorney at Law (sole practitioner)

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?