25 Years of PLA: Medical-Legal Community Partnership

Four staff members pose  in front a ferris wheel

The Medical-Legal Community Partnership (MLCP) integrates attorneys directly into community health centers in order to alleviate legal barriers to health for patients who otherwise would not have sought out legal aid services. Our MLCP, now in nine sites across the city, helps ensure patients’ access to medical care, nutritious food, stable housing, and safety at home. The MLCP empowers patients with legal information that they didn’t know before, particularly for non-English speaking and immigrant populations. Because of the MLCP, clients are able to address health-harming legal issues, such as accessing insurance or public benefits, and improve their health outcomes overall.

“Once people know we are at their health center, they come back to us. I helped one woman with 20 legal matters over the past 9 years. What if she didn’t know about  PLA? What would have happened to her family? We are part of the community, we know the community, and the community knows us.” - Cynthia, Attorney 

“You always hear about people slipping through the cracks and being denied services. I’m proud of our team because we don’t allow that to happen. Our advocates go above and beyond in many instances. For example,  after we helped a family get food stamps, the mom noted that she wished she had furniture for her daughters to do their homework on. An MLCP advocate went out and found her free furniture within a couple of days. We go above and beyond to help them however we can, even when that’s outside of legal services.” - James, Supervising Attorney