1-Hour Program

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Language access, a crucial issue of civil rights, is covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.  Many states and cities also have language rights obligations protecting individuals with limited English proficiency [LEP].  Advocates representing legal services and pro bono clients should be aware of these mandates and authorities and how they relate to the work advocates do on behalf of those with multiple marginalizations.  In addition to understanding language rights law and policy, legal services and pro bono attorneys can better help their clients access justice by considering clients' language access needs in connection with various forms of advocacy, getting familiar with the language rights remedies that are available through administrative advocacy and litigation, and taking any steps needed to ensure that their own services meet the same high standards to which we seek to hold outside entities accountable.  

Scheduled as part of PLI’s recognition of Pro Bono Week for October 28, in this Briefing expert practitioners will talk about protecting the rights of individuals with LEP and will use examples in a variety of practice areas such as domestic violence intervention, public benefits, and immigration relief.  Speakers will discuss language rights laws and rules, creative examples for protecting language rights, practical tools and strategies, and also best practices for promoting language justice in your own organization and client relationships.

After completing this Briefing, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize how language rights advocacy and a language justice approach contribute to greater access to justice for legal services, nonprofit, and pro bono clients (10 minutes)
  • Identify federal mandates and select state and city authorities concerning language access (10 minutes)
  • Evaluate possible civil rights claims against federal and state funded entities  (10 minutes)
  • Understand creative approaches to effective advocacy for linguistically marginalized communities (10 minutes)
  • Assess practical tools for helping clients facing administrative agencies and proceedings access justice (10 minutes)
  • Explore the benefits of and best strategies for pursuing a language justice approach to the provision of legal services by legal aid, nonprofit, and pro bono providers (10 minutes)


Who Should Attend:  This program will be of interest to legal aid and legal services advocates, nonprofit lawyers, pro bono attorneys, judges, court personnel, government attorneys, law school students, and legal experts

Program Level: Overview

Prerequisites: None

Advanced Preparation: None




Edward Josephson

The Legal Aid Society


Joann H. Lee

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles


Susan E. Welber

The Legal Aid Society


Credit Details