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Step Up To Justice

Step Up To Justice is a free civil legal center for low-income residents of Pima County, AZ powered by the talents of volunteer attorneys and the efficient use of technology.

Presence in: United States
Focus: Family, Gender-based violence

Step Up to Justice is a full-service free civil legal center for low-income individuals and families in Pima County, powered by the talents of volunteer attorneys and the efficient use of technology and funding. A public service by private citizens, Step Up to Justice harnesses the energy of volunteer attorneys and channels that resource to members of the community who need but cannot afford legal services.  SU2J relies on innovation in technology to bring civil legal services to clients where and when they need them. By targeting funds at the infrastructure necessary to connect clients in need with volunteers ready to help, SU2J reaches clients, recruits volunteers, builds partnerships, and provides free civil legal services efficiently and at a low cost.

SU2J delivers uplifting and affirmative experiences to all stakeholders.  Clients feel respected, heard, understood, and confident that they have a strong advocate to help them navigate a complicated legal system. Volunteers engage in inspiring, state-of-the-art volunteer opportunities that are worthy of time and dedication. Community partners such as courts, schools, and social services are able to share resources and yield better results for clients, volunteers and the Pima County community.

SU2J is founded on the belief that the infrastructure needed to bridge the gap between volunteers and clients must be robust, innovative and committed in order to be effective. The optimized delivery of free civil legal service requires efficient and careful financial stewardship. SU2J maximizes the return on investment made by donors by continually asking, “How can we direct quality free civil legal services to the most people in need at the lowest cost?” Step Up to Justice staff think positively, are motivated to solve problems and enjoy challenges. They assume ownership for their work and the work of the organization, and are proud to be a part of the mission.

People Associated With This Organization

Melissa Spiller-Shiner

United States  
Step Up To Justice
Joined July 2021
Interests: Family, Gender-based violence, Livelihoods
I am the Associate Director of Step Up To Justice - a Pima County, Arizona based legal services non-profit. I have worked in civil legal services my entire legal career - since 2010. I have a B.A. in Sociology from Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY) , an M.A. in Ethics, Peace & Global Affairs from American University (Washington, DC), and a J.D. from the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ). Prior to joining Step Up To Justice, I worked as a staff attorney at another Tucson, AZ -based civil legal services provider in their Consumer, Housing, & Public Benefits unit assisting low income clients with landlord/tenant and bankruptcy matters. I then moved to the program's Volunteer Lawyers Program as their Staff Attorney and Law Student Coordinator, managing court and student-based clinics to assist self-represented litigants navigate the court process.
As part of this network, I am looking for ways to stay current on trends regarding how civil legal services are being delivered in innovative ways.
Melissa Spiller-Shiner is the network champion (main point of contact) for Step Up To Justice.

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