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Countywide : 2 Groups Merge Efforts to Give Legal Aid to Poor

Two nonprofit community groups have decided to merge their efforts to provide free legal services for the county’s poor.

Pending final paper work, officials said, the unification of Amicus Publico, a county group that was founded in 1981 and has more than 350 local lawyers on its volunteer panel, and the Orange County Public Interest Law Advocates, created in 1984, could take effect within days.

The coalition--to be known as Amicus Publico/Public Interest Advocates (AP/PIA)--expects to provide free legal services for several hundred indigents on issues such as tenant-landlord disputes and family litigation.

In addition, the coalition plans to take on broader public-interest litigation on matters affecting the poor, such as homelessness and medical care.

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“To join forces in a community where there’s so little money available to do public-interest law has to have a positive impact,” said Deborah Fabricant, president and general counsel of Amicus Publico.

Officials expect a combined first-year budget of $320,000 for AP/PIA, relying largely on grants and private donations from the community. For more information, call (714) 541-1010.


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