Having a lawyer in critical civil cases can make a difference between keeping a home or losing it, obtaining protection from domestic violence or suffering injury, having sufficient food or going hungry, keeping a family together versus having it split apart, or remaining free versus being incarcerated. Over the last 20 years, the National Coalition for A Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) has provided invaluable support, research, and coordination for advocates seeking to expand the right to counsel for the most serious civil cases, like housing, domestic violence, child custody, and more. 


visionWe engage in this work because the right to full representation by an attorney is an evidence-based approach that promotes actual systems change. It enables people to enforce their rights and protect their basic human needs while helping to effectuate the laws that have been passed to protect people. It helps to redistribute power. It works towards restoring confidence in the justice system. It advances race equity by providing one form of relief to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities disproportionately harmed by and entangled in a civil justice system rooted in systemic racism. And it rejects the scarcity-based operations of legal services while advancing long-term fiscal responsibility.   


Since 2003, the NCCRC has:Mission1


  • tracked and responded to hundreds of pieces of legislation seeking to expand or constrict the civil right to counsel patchwork;
  • contributed to dozens of litigation efforts implicating the civil right to counsel directly and indirectly;
  • educated thousands in presentations, publications, and the press; and,
  • connected advocates and efforts nationwide to foster a civil right to counsel movement that shares knowledge, strategies, and trust. 

In collecting and reporting on the incredible amount of activity happening around the country, especially in lesser-expected geographic areas, we’ve helped build enthusiasm for the effort by showing how many view the right to counsel as desirable and achievable

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