Across the country, class action residuals have been successfully used to fund civil legal services for the poor.
- Texas: An Austin attorney was instrumental in designating more than $2.6 million in court awards to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and five of its grantees to support civil legal services to persons with disabilities.
- Washington, DC: One legal aid program and three law school clinical programs received more than $10 million from court awards resulting from a single lawsuit.
- Georgia: Georgia Legal Services Program and Atlanta Legal Aid Society have collectively received more than $3 million from court awards in three lawsuits.
- Maryland: Maryland’s only LSC-funded program has received three court awards totaling more than $280,000.
- Minnesota: Minnesota Legal Aid Foundation received $3,250,000 in two court awards.
- Illinois: Legal Aid Foundation of Metro Chicago and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance
Foundation collectively received $824,000 from 19 court awards.
There have also been recent class action residual awards made to legal aid programs in Atlanta, Cincinnati and Tallahassee.
In Massachusetts, the potential of the SJC’s amendment for preserving access to justice is just beginning to be recognized. However, there is some history of directing awards to legal services even before the amendment.
For example, in January 2006 the Massachusetts Superior Court approved a class action settlement agreement awarding $100,000 in residuals to the National Consumer Law Center.
In another class action settlement a Medford attorney was instrumental in designating more than $3 million in class action residuals to 18 different non-profit organizations in a 2010 case, including Greater Boston Legal Services.
Civil legal services programs are well situated to make effective use of class action residual