Frequently Asked Questions
Liz Gitlin and Bruce Gitlin, who are lawyers, established the law center over a decade ago. The Gitlins established the law center because they recognized a profound need for a public interest law practice where staff understands how to effectively represent the Deaf community, particularly in the context of language and Deaf culture. It was a natural extension of the law center’s practice to expand its mission to include the hard of hearing community.
The impetus behind the establishment of the law center, in addition to the obvious need within the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, is the Gitlins’ commitment to social justice, inspired by their Jewish faith tradition. Liz and Bruce lived in Israel during calendar years 2000-2001 and when they returned they were determined to create a meaningful public interest practice that manifested the Biblical commandment, “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” This directive informs the law center. The board of directors and staff of the center understand the injunction as a universal commitment to create access to justice, independent of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
The Center helps indigent Deaf clients and individuals of modest means, but we provide advice and support, on occasion, to Deaf individuals who are not indigent where our services are requested. We provide advice, similarly, to the hard of hearing community and we advocate for closed captioning and other technology that assists the hard of hearing community in gaining language access.
Additionally, we serve on a task force that seeks to improve access to American Sign Language interpreters in law enforcement settings and we work toward improving the delivery of American Sign Language interpreters in the court system.