In an effort to make legal services accesible to all South Dakota citizens, the State Bar of South Dakota formed Access to Justice ("A2J"). A2J provides legal services to:
- individuals living at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines
- survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking living at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines; and
- individuals with disabilities, the elderly and veterans who live at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
The State Bar of South Dakota and Access to Justice Program also developed a modest means (reduced fee) program. This program broadens access to legal services by reducing attorneys fees for eligible client who do not qualify for A2J pro bono legal services. The maximum retainer a participating attorney can collect for a modest means program case is $650 and the maximum hourly fee is the current state court-appointed fee rate.
Access to Justice does not accept applications for fee-generating cases (this includes, but is not limited to, personal injury and social security or SSI claims) or criminal cases. Our program is not able to assist individuals currently incarcerated.
Intake & Referral Process
All applicants for A2J are screened by A2J staff for eligibility. If a case is determined to be eligible for an A2J pro bono or modest means program, A2J staff attempt to find an attorney to handle the case. Once an attorney agrees to review the case in further detail, A2J staff refer the applicant to contact the attorney for an interview. The volunteer attorney can decline to accept the applicant as a client if the case is determined to not have merit following the interview and further review.