While legal aid programs work primarily with low-income and/or vulnerable populations, multiple statewide studies demonstrate that investing in these programs produces positive economic effects for residents of all income levels.
The returns to society manifest themselves in a number of ways. For example, when individuals receive legal help to avoid wrongful foreclosures they are able to stay in their homes and out of publicly funded shelters and other social services programs. In immigration cases, for example, individuals who receive legal status are no longer at risk of being detained and can become taxpaying wage earners. In these ways, and many others, legal aid reduces the burden on state and local budgets, and produces both short and long-term returns.
Here is a quick look at how far $1 invested in justice goes in various US states.