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Partnering with Clients to Achieve Economic Justice and Full Enfranchisement

By Sharon Lee Schwartz

Partnerships between legal aid lawyers and their clients—whereby clients are offered the opportunity to “pay” for the services they receive by contributing their time to someone else in their community—exemplify the original mission of the legal services program to promote justice. One strategy for implementing such partnerships is through time banking, through which people spend “time dollars” to exchange skills they have for services they need. “Pay-it-Forward,” a pilot project in the Roseburg office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, invites clients to participate in a time bank, giving them access to an alternative economy that values all participants’ skills equally.

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