Colorado Legal Services returns an estimated $105 million to the state in 2022

Third-party analysis shows increase on social return on investment of 200% over previous year, bringing it to 619%

Dec. 18, 2023 (DENVER) – Colorado Legal Services today released a third-party analysis estimating it increased its social return on investment from 2021 to 2022 by nearly 200%, from 431% to 619%. According to the report, which was prepared by Community Services Analysis, for every $1 invested in Colorado Legal Services in 2022, the state of Colorado receives an estimated $6.19 of immediate and long-term financial benefits.

The net value resulting from Colorado Legal Services' work in 2022 totaled nearly $105 million.

According to Community Services Analysis, return on investment measures the financial value created by the organization through delivery of services to the community. These include both short-term direct economic impacts (employment, immediate cost savings or increased revenues, etc.) and longer-term economic impacts from educational benefits, economic growth, community support cost savings, legal and law enforcement cost savings, public benefits changes, and others. The report released today includes a county-by-county look at how Colorado Legal Services provides a high-value service to its communities.

“While it is impossible to truly quantify the value of delivering justice for Coloradans in poverty, this report demonstrates the incredible dedication of our staff to providing high-quality legal services to some of the most vulnerable in Colorado, helping them keep their homes, qualify for employment and health benefits, leave dangerous domestic violence situations, receive the financial benefits they’re entitled to, and so much more,” said Matt Baca, executive director of Colorado Legal Services. “As this report shows, providing free civil legal services to people with low incomes makes our state stronger.”

Colorado Legal Services operates 13 offices throughout Colorado, providing free civil legal services to people who are low-income and would not otherwise have access to the justice system or would be otherwise left to represent themselves. In 2022, the organization provided services in seven major areas of law, with 75 distinct categories of services and over 100 types of cases. Services were provided in 9,417 legal matters during the year.

The Social Return on Investment results for 2022 are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Some ways Colorado Legal Services provides long-term economic impact to Colorado communities include the following:

  • Significant savings on costs for emergency housing and family assistance by fighting for tenants;
  • Additional employment and housing opportunities provided through criminal record expungement;
  • Long-term benefits through the ID Project, which helps people apply for and receive identification documents, which are necessary to apply for housing, work, and benefits;
  • Multiple year income from Social Security and/or Disability benefits that were previously denied, terminated, or reduced; and
  • Cost savings and benefits resulting from other legal aid services available to qualified low-income individuals and families.

Another significant reason for Colorado Legal Services’ over 600% social return on investment is the number of volunteer legal services hours delivered by attorneys throughout Colorado. The pro-bono programs, which are supported by local bar associations, would be less available and less efficient if not for Colorado Legal Services. The organization provides the necessary infrastructure, frequently including attorney recruitment, training, and recognition, applicant screening, administrative support, technical assistance, and follow-up services for clients and pro-bono programs.

Colorado Legal Services also provides necessary legal services to migrant farmworkers, essential members of our workforce who otherwise would have no access to legal services and little protection from predatory and unscrupulous practices. Without their labor, the agricultural industry could not produce the food needed and demanded by everyone in our state. They are also among the most vulnerable workers in the country.

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Media contact 

Emily Wenger 

Communications Director | Colorado Legal Services 

ewenger@colegalserv.org 

Colorado Legal Services is supported in part by the Legal Services Corporation.

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