Anyone can setup a legal fund. In fact, many people who face legal challenges establish a legal fund to help pay for the legal costs associated with their case. While these legal funds serve their purposes with varying success, they have several shortcomings. These shortcomings arise from the fact that such legal funds are temporary, local and single-purposed. The establishment of a national legal fund solves these and many other issues.
Learning from Experience
Because individual legal funds disband once the individual's case is closed, others facing similar issues do not benefit from the experiences of the previous legal fund. Networks that are built to mobilize support, methods for evaluating attorneys, relationships with attorneys, agreements drafted to maximize effectiveness, workflow systems and other elements are lost.
The Muslim Legal Fund of America provides a platform that enables the American Muslim community to retain knowledge gained from experience. As this knowledge grows, its benefit to the community also grows. Small networks develop into a nationwide infrastructure. Procedures are refined into highly-efficient systems. Cost-saving techniques are replicated and maximized to allow greater support for cases that impact the community. Knowledge learned from support an individual case is not lost; instead, it is used as building blocks for addressing future cases.
Individual cases are local. The networks developed to support the case are strongest in the area where the individuals live. The relationships with attorneys are typically limited to only the attorneys handling the case. This often limits the value of the experiences gained to the geographic area surrounding the case. Cases in other parts of the country do not benefit directly.
By establishing a nationwide fund, MLFA takes the experiences and knowledge gained in one part of the country and applies it to cases in other parts of the nation. Muslim facing legal challenges in the West Coast can benefit from what the organization learned from cases in the East Coast, Midwest and vice versa. MLFA exports its experiences as it builds.
Breadth of Issues
Single-case legal funds are setup to only manage a single issue or the limited number of issues directly associated with the case. As such, the impact of the work done for supporting the case is also limited.
MLFA adds to its list of issues with each case it supports. By doing so, its ability to support cases grows with each case it supports. The knowledge of specific issues surrounding a case, the attorneys with experience in specific areas of law and other issue-specific factors add to the repertoire of knowledge the organization can leverage for the community's benefit.
The Need is Now
As you can see, establishing and supporting a nationwide fund benefits the community by providing a platform on which we can continuously build. Experience and knowledge are not lost; they are added to and expanded upon. And the need for funds to support the pursuit of justice also continues.
Since its founding in 2001, MLFA has supported an array of cases, refined its processes, built systems and established support networks and relationships to benefit the American Muslim community. But our work is not done. We need your support to continue fighting for freedom, liberty and justice for all -- Muslims included!