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How to Build a Paralegal Program
Wisdom from Across the Network in One Place

Dear Friends,

In every part of the world today, we hear authoritarian rulers making the same promise: I will fix all of your problems for you, but I must hold all of the power myself.

We know this to be a false promise. We know that the law works for people when it’s in the people’s hands - when it is understood, used, and shaped by all of us. This is the bedrock of the movement for legal empowerment.

We’ve pulled together wisdom from across the Global Legal Empowerment Network on how to deploy grassroots legal advocates - also known as community paralegals, or barefoot lawyers - who help people to understand, use, and shape the law.

 

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Discover how a team of ten paralegals is supporting thousands of historically stateless people in Bangladesh to acquire identity documents. Learn how paralegals in Sierra Leone partner with rural communities to assert their rights against developers who violate contracts and damage land and water.

Resources in the guide focus on practical challenges, like how to raise funds to pay paralegals, and how to collect data on the cases paralegals handle.

The knowledge here comes from practitioners all over the world. We hope you find it useful and that you share it with others. If there’s a topic or a resource you’d like to see added, please let us know.

Our movement is growing. The Economist recently featured the work of several Global Legal Empowerment Network members in their piece on the rise of paralegals across Africa. “Their work is desperately needed,” the article says. “Even where states function well, they need to be held accountable.”


Let's keep on, together.


In solidarity,

Vivek, Michael, and the whole team supporting the Global Legal Empowerment Network  

 

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