June 9, 1958 (Endorsed Filed July 13, 1958)
Incorporated as the Legal Aid Society of Riverside (LASR), to “primarily and initially to engage in furnishing legal aid to the needy”; other major purpose was “to cooperate with the courts of justice of the State of California and with the Bar, and with social agencies, and any and all other persons, person or groups of persons interested in the administration of justice.
A testament to their standing in the legal community, seven of the nine founding members, would go on to serve as RCBA President over the next several decades.
According to the original articles of incorporation, its purpose, in part, was to operate a legal aid clinic “in and for the City of Riverside.”
At this time in Riverside, there is a boon of post-war growth and development, and increasing population. Between 1950 – 1960, Riverside alone grew by 80%, from 46,399 to 83,714.
In May 1958, a group of members from the San Bernardino County Bar Association had already formed the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. (LASSB) LASSB remained a private donor/ SCBA self-funded entity until 1977 when it became
JoeL Brand, President; Ralph Hekman, Secretary
Ms. Brand was a lifelong Riverside resident and the first woman deputy D.A. for Riverside County. Hastings. She also worked in the County Counsel’s office and for the Economic Opportunity Board. She passed on or about 9/26/2006. Olivewood gravesite.
Offices at 3903 Tenth Street in Riverside in 1967
Second office opened in Indio (low Desert, Eastern Riverside)c. 1967
Press clippings reveal a significant effort of hiring support staff between ‘67-’70. See CDNC-UCR search for Legal Aid Society of Riverside
Hiring boom, 67-75
Address listed as 3890 Tenth Street in 1970
“1st case to high court: Legal aid office has overflow crowd, PE,1/21/70 – B2:3
Several appearances by Atty staff in Indio office, other Desert centers as well as press-interviews on various topics for community outreach and education. Ibid
In 1971, Dr. William Pivar from the College of the Desert had staff Atty, Henry McMongale on his live TV broadcast to discuss legal rights and the programs at LASR. Dr. Pivar’s program was generally aimed at the Mexican community. Ibid.
Article in 12/71 discussing election of CAG (predecessor to CAP) officers and aides, lists LASR as one of it’s sub-grantees – LASR funding from EOB Riverside (OEO federally) Ibid.
These were tumultuous times for the legal aid community nationwide, as the Nixon Administration had threatened and already stalled continued funding for legal services under the OEO. This federal agency was scrapped and replaced by the Community Service Administration. Changes to the regulations, then laws governing legal aid funding, radically changed the “activism” that had been a mainstay of the program during the OEO years.
“Dorthy Davis, New LASR director plans changes, improves services”, PE, 8/10/72; B17
October 3, 1972- Articles are amended, changing the name of the organization to:
COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY
Thomas F. McGrath, President; James Warren, Secretary
LEGAL SERVICES FOR SENIORS SERVICES BEGAN WITH FUNDING FROM THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY OFFICE ON AGING
In San Bernardino County, volunteer attorneys from the local bar association were providing pro bono legal services to the poor at the LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF SAN BERNARDINO in downtown San Bernardino. As press-coverage began to expand on the ill fate of continued public funding for legal aid, Congressman George E. Brown, of the then 26th Congressional District representing inland empire, began to become increasingly concerned and ultimately involved in the preservation of legal aid.
Illustrating the variety of legal assistance provided, were several high-profile cases involving police shootings, rent control and immigrant labor disputes. In 1973, Director, Dorthy K. Davis represented the family of a suspect slain by RPD officers. She was one of few attorneys allowed to be present at a Coroner’s inquest. . . 5/25/73, SB Sun, CDNC.UCR
Congressman Brown opposes measures that would change the structure in funding from under OEO. He commissions a local report on the inadequate level of services provided to the indigent in Riv/SB counties. Brown, upon the request of Steven Ybarra, sends an inquiry to Dept of Treasury in re “revenue sharing” and gets a favorable response to the inquiry and legal/financial strategy to keep money flowing to the beleaguered local agency.
During this time, many organizations had not received any funding while in Riverside, the funding came in late.
Meanwhile, despite the fickle financial fate, the firm continues its remarkable work. On January 1974, the firm was issued a plaque by the Palm Springs Human Services Commission in appreciation for its work in providing free legal services to 250 low income clients in the Palms Springs area during the past year. Desert Sun, CDNC.UCR “Community Legal Services”
In Oct. 1974, Steven J. Ybarra, paralegal and Lois Carson of NCNW are among other attendees at a Coachella Valley Coordinating Council of Community Services. Mr. Ybarra would go on to serve the CA Sec of Health and Human Welfare in 77’ and come back to conduct a Spanish Language workshop in Palm Springs in Feb, 1977. He was a USC grad and worked for Cal Rural Legal Assistance, LAFLA and the Office of Economic Opportunity before working w/ CLSR. He authored the practice guide “The Welfare Fraud Farce: Case Against the Government”
“Expanded legal services plan, hanging in the balance on government’s aid”, E-6/24/75; B-3:1
“LA attorney named chief of legal aid in County”, E-8/26/73
William Schuetz, Director CLSR; Lee Berthel, Director of Indio Branch
Harry S. Truman Demo Club sponsors cocktail party in Palm Springs to benefit CLSR. Desert Sun, 12//12/75, CDNC.UCR, Ibid
In January 1975, a new paralegal was hired to run the circuit in Palm Springs. Wayne Graham, would help seniors with a variety of issues. Ibid, 1/15/77
Tel-Law established in 1975 as a legal hotline service funded by the Bar associations of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. This would be the impetus for future collaboration between the County Bars, ultimately leading to the CSLR transition to ICLS and its two-county representation. See 8/18/76 SB Sun article commemorating 1 yr of Tel-Law. CDNC.UCR
Former director, Ron Pettis, running for election of 37th congressional house seat in 1975. SB Sun, 4/28/75, CDNC.UCR
May 5, 1977 - Riverside County Bar Association and San Bernardino County Bar Association leadership responsible for expansion into San Bernardino County with federal funding from the Legal Services Corporation, changing the name of the organization to:
INLAND COUNTIES LEGAL SERVICES
Gerald D. Shoaf, President; John D. Wahlen, Secretary
Attorney Florentino Garza served as the first President of Inland Counties Legal Services and was instrumental in providing bar leadership for a successful expansion effort.
Hon. Ronald L. Taylor, ret. as ICLS Executive Director in 1977 provided leadership for program expansion, working closely with local bar associations. He was director of litigation prior to ICLS change and becoming ED.
FIRST OFFICE IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY OPENED IN THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE HISTORIC COURT HOUSE
Low income people began receiving free representation in the courts in San Bernardino County by staff lawyers for the first time
Rene Pimentel, VISTA atty from San Bernardino, joins ICLS. Deseret Sun, 3/7/78, CDNC.UCR-”ICLS” This is particularly notable given G.E. Brown’s initiative in San Bernardino, building the coalition of VISTA lawyers that would respond to the crisis. Pimental is likely from that group. David Iverson also joined.
San Bernardino Transit suit settlement, ‘imminent’. SB Sun, 1/14/78, CDNC.UCR
Farm workers sue Blue Banner packing house for $3.9 million in damages over , represented by ICLS, Desert Sun, 3/26/79, CDNC.UCR
ONTARIO OFFICE OPENED IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
The opening of a local legal services office in a small house in the West End of the County provided access to services because of the lack of adequate public transportation from Ontario to San Bernardino 25 miles to the east.
INLAND EMPIRE LATINO LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
A small group of ICLS legal services attorneys started this minority bar association to focus on the unmet legal needs of the drastically underserved low income Spanish speaking population
PUBLIC SERVICE LAW CORPORATION OF THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
The Riverside bar association formed this non-profit organization to provide volunteer attorney services to pro bono to low income persons in Riverside County
LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF SAN BERNARDINO
Volunteer attorneys continued to give legal advice at this high volume legal clinic which provided pro se access to the family law court
ICLS PRIVATE ATTORNEY INVOLVEMENT (PAI) PROGRAM
Under the leadership of Executive Director Ronald L. Taylor, ICLS established a PAI Program approved by the Legal Services Corporation to receiving subgranted federal funds to increase the involvement of private attorneys in the direct delivery of legal services to the poor. Under this program, federal funding, with oversight by ICLS, was provided to the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, the Public Service Law Corporation, the West End Legal Aid Clinic and the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association
Ronald L. Taylor was appointed to the bench. Irene Morales, Managing Attorney of the ICLS Riverside Branch Office since 1976, was hired as the program’s new Executive Director. Federal funding was cut 25% in 1983.
ICLS was awarded a contract to provide Legal Services for Seniors with federal funding by the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services. With the new money, Quarterly outreach to Needles, CA began; for last 15+ years services ICLS opened its fifth one attorney office in Hesperia, expanding legal services to the High Desert of San Bernardino County.
New IOLTA funding ensured the survival of ICLS and all of its five branch offices: Riverside, Indio, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville
New Equal Access and Partnership state funding
- HOUSING HOTLINE to increase rural access (2000)
- SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY PROJECT (2000)
- TENANT AND LANDLORD ASSISTANCE PROJECT – Attorney represents four days a week at court (2005)
- CONSUMER AND WORKES LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT (2006)
- FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER IN RIVERSIDE (2006)
COURT EQUAL ACCESS FUNDED PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS
ICLS attorneys provide legal information to public and document preparation for low income, targeting underserved groups: monolingual Spanish speaking, disabled and illiterate court consumers
- FAMILY LAW ACCESS PARTNERSHIP PROJECT WITH RIVERSIDE SUPERIOR COURT in Riverside and Indio Courts (2000)
- PROYECTO AYUDA LEGAL/LEGAL HELP PROGRAM in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville Courts (2003)
- BANNING COURT ACCESS PROJECT (2005)
ICLS engages in aggressive legal advocacy in the courts and before administrative judges. Major areas of law practice are Housing, Family, Consumer, Elder Law and Public Benefits.
ICLS is recognizing local attorneys for significant pro bono service and is celebrating its 50 years of advocating for justice and working with justice and other partners to increase access to legal services and the courts