MJF carries out its mission by working with our partners, donors, and the legal community to support programs that work to achieve equal access to justice for all Montanans.
The Montana Justice Foundation believes that justice should be available to all Montanans, and our organization works to close the gaps that prohibit many Montanans from achieving justice, particularly those vulnerable populations who cannot afford attorneys or who do not have knowledge or access to knowledge about the legal system.
As in many states, money is the primary barrier in getting necessary legal help. But Montanans experience unique challenges in accessing justice. The high cost of legal help is exacerbated by the rural nature of our state, the long distances between services, and the lack of transportation infrastructure connecting rural towns to larger cities where many services are located. MJF’s work seeks to fund and provide assistance to programs that address these barriers, and that serve our state’s most vulnerable populations including low-income families, Native Americans, survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, elderly Montanans, and veterans.
MJF accomplishes its mission through the generous support of our donors and the Montana legal community. We also manage the state’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, a nation-wide program that generates funds from interest on attorney’s trust accounts. We also actively pursue Cy Pres awards, an avenue through which attorneys can choose to direct court awards and unclaimed residual funds from class actions to the Montana Justice Foundation.
MJF invests in organizations that further the mission of achieving access to justice for all. We make three types of grants including program grants, law-related education grants, and special project grants. We also fund a loan repayment assistance program that encourages attorneys to dedicate their work to the civil legal aid community. Through strategic grant making and effective programming, MJF has been able to successfully fund programs that help our state close the gaps in access to justice for all.
MJF works with our community partners and the legal aid community to do the nuts and bolts work of building stronger systems that help Montanans attain legal assistance. We provide support to the Access to Justice Commission, a committee created by the Montana State Supreme Court that addresses the barriers to justice in our state.