Who We Are
Fair Shake incorporated in April 2013 as the nation’s first 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental law firm with the mission to open the doors of environmental justice by providing legal representation regardless of income. Low-income communities are often left out of the decision-making process yet they suffer most from environmental impacts like pollution or contaminated water. Our non-profit law firm offers a full range of services from our all in-house, local attorneys to level the playing field for people of modest means, or no means at all, to give their environmental needs a voice and see to it that voice is heard.
What We Believe
We believe that communities on the frontlines of environmental decline have a great deal to teach us about resistance and justice. Fair Shake provides legal services so that their environmental needs have a voice.
To do that we must:
FOSTER EQUAL ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
By promoting the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies; and providing legal representation to allow equal access to the environmental decision-making process and to foster equal protection under the law for the health, preservation and restoration of natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment;
PROVIDE EDUCATION IN LEGAL SERVICE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
By educating young attorneys in legal services entrepreneurship and incubating start-up legal services organizations to serve the environmental legal needs of underserved low- and middle-income clients;
SUPPORT COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
By empowering communities and stimulating economies in the Appalachian Basin region by providing environmental legal services and counseling to allow the underserved to make decisions about practical and innovative solutions to complex environmental challenges across the region.
What We Do
We provide free legal services to individuals whose income is within 300% of the federal poverty level. Our pro bono program accounts for 22% of our docket. Many of the cases in our pro bono program come from individuals living with the impacts of coal extraction.
SLIDING SCALE LEGAL SERVICES
Standing up for your environment requires the financial means to do so. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that those of lower economic means are exposed to the highest levels of environmental pollution and damage. Our sliding scale services offer legal services priced according to the client’s household income or the organization’s average annual budget over the last three years. By providing income relative rates we open the doors of the environmental legal process to the individuals who need it most.Our sliding scale legal services program accounts for 40% of our docket.
PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION
Public interest litigation is work for organizational clients that seeks to accomplish outcomes for the public and environmental greater good. Our public interest litigation program accounts for 38% of our docket.