Legal Advocacy as a Strategy: An Undertaking of the Atlas Learning Project
Over the last year, TCC Group has been conducting a field review into the world of legal advocacy in the nonprofit sector. Partnering with the Center for Evaluation Innovation and the Atlantic Philanthropies via the Atlas Learning Project, which aims to push advocacy in bolder and more effective directions, TCC Group has been examining how advocacy organizations use legal advocacy as a strategy and how funders can best support that work. Here, we are sharing the results of our work to help inform funders, legal advocates, non-legal advocates, and evaluators about the field of legal advocacy.
Legal advocacy – also known as advocacy through the courts – uses the judicial system to advance social change goals. This is often done through bringing forward a legal case in court that focuses on improving a situation for a particular group of disadvantaged people. Watch our short video to get a better understanding of what legal advocacy is and why it’s important.
|This one-pager introduces funders to the concept of legal advocacy, what questions funders should ask themselves to know if the foundation is ready to fund legal advocacy, and how to best support legal advocacy. Download the one-pager.||Download the full paper.|
|This one-pager introduces advocates to the concept of legal advocacy, shares implications that legal advocacy can have for other kinds of advocacy work, talks through partnering for legal advocacy, and finally shares what outcomes can be achieved through using legal advocacy as a strategy. Download the one-pager.||Download the full paper.|
|This piece, written by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, explores the legal context around pursuing legal advocacy, including factors that favor and obstruct legal advocacy, key strategies to think about while engaged in legal advocacy work, and recommendations for funders and litigators involved in the field. Download the executive summary.||Download the full paper.|
|This guide introduces funders, advocates, and evaluators to thinking about evaluating legal advocacy work. In addition to legal impact, we explore how to measure the quality of the work, and how to measure impact outside of the legal arena. Sign up to receive this free how-to guide when it launches!|
For more on the Atlas Learning Project, including materials on: working effectively with 501c4 organizations, advocacy to protect policy wins and ensure quality implementation, and other issues, visit the Atlas Learning Project.
For those looking for more resources focused on legal advocacy, check out the sites and material below. And, if there are other resources you know about that are not listed here, email us and let us know!
interest litigation and social change in South Africa: Strategies, tactics and lessons
Steven Budlender, Gilbert Marcus SC, and Nick Ferreira
|This paper addresses how legal advocacy (which they call public interest litigation) has interacted with social change movements in South Africa.|
Legal Change: Lessons from America’s Social Movements
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at the Brennan Center for Justice
|A paper on the interaction between legal advocacy and social movements.|
|National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Tools and Technical Assistance||This site hosts a variety of tools and technical assistance for legal aid and defender organizations.|
|The North Carolina Court System’s Evaluation Project (NCSEP)||This site shares resources and information about their work creating an outcomes-based evaluation for the criminal justice system.|
Public Interest Legal Services in South Africa
SERI (Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa)
|This research report focuses on public interest legal services in South Africa and examines what services are currently provided, the value and impact of those services, how public interest legal services can better collaborate within themselves and with the legal profession, as well as a set of recommendations for the sector.|