The Challenge of Legal Literacy

Legal providers often rely on the internet to reach their most vulnerable clients. By searching online, individuals can find reliable information about upcoming legal clinics as well as videos, PDFs, and self-help exams covering all areas of civil law. And yet, the communities who would most benefit from these resources are unaware of what lawyers do, unsure how to secure legal help, and often lack broadband internet connection at home or the basic digital literacy skills to access the information they seek .

The Legal Literacy Initiative

Together with libraries and legal service organizations in Rhode Island, Washington DC, and Maryland, LWB curates and delivers digital legal materials directly to communities, meeting people where they are and providing them with the digital skills to access the resources that answer their questions. Our programs take place in laundromats, street corners, churches, housing developments, senior centers, and flea markets while using new tools like to provide relevant, user-friendly databases of information. To date, we have served over 800 individuals, connecting over 80 families with attorneys, signing 60 individuals up for library cards, and facilitating conversations on issues pertinent to each community.

I mean I knew that my boss was awful, but I didn’t realize it was a legal issue, that there are resources out there to help me and lawyers who are out there to help
— Anonymous Client, Hyattsville MD